New Zealand Book Month has been a particularly busy time for me, and this week more so than ever. I had the pleasure of being invited to tour the West Coast, inflicting myself upon libraries and schools from Hokitika to Westport. Here's me in action at the Westport Library. If you look closely at the photo, they even gave me a support gnome on the table!
First thing I have to say is I had forgotten how beautiful the West Coast is, especially on a good day. It was sunny and warm the whole time I was away I spent most of the time traveling feeling gobsmacked at the scenery. Even the airplane flights were amazing, with spectacular views of Aoraki Mt Cook and the Alps. Here's a pic of Punakaiki or Pancake Rocks as they are also known. I feel a family holiday coming on...
The Coaster's hospitality was fantastic and the audiences attentive and friendly. I was really impressed with the high school students I spoke to, who were impeccably well behaved and asked great questions.
So I had a wonderful time away, and even got to experience the best ever chicken and mushroom pie at Hokitika Cheese and Deli. I'd give it a 6 out of 5! And the coolest building - I loved the Westport Municipal Chambers.
It had been over twenty years since I had traveled to Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport, and I was delighted to see how much the towns had flourished since then. The libraries in all of these towns were certainly a vital community hub, and when you see the effort and passion the librarians put into their work and communities, with little in the way of resources, you realise how precious they are. So hats off to the Librarians!