A Kerikeri teen has combined her concerns about the environment and the need to preserve te reo Māori in a bilingual children's book about plastic pollution of the oceans.
Alex Edwards, 17, has just published Trevor the Trevally in a Plastic Ocean or Ārewa te Araara i te Moana Parahitiki.
The Year 13 student wrote the book in English, illustrated it with her own photos, and had it translated into Māori by her mum's colleagues in the Education Ministry.
''I was becoming concerned that there weren't any resources in te reo about plastic in our oceans. I'm also concerned that we can lose the language if we only educate kids about world issues in English,'' she said.
The keen swimmer and spear fisher said the book was written in fictional form because children responded better to stories than to having instructions drilled into them.
The story follows two children who are confronted by Trevor the Trevally, Guardian of the Bay, after they discard ice block wrappers at the beach.
Trevor, or Ārewa, then takes the children on an underwater journey in which they see first-hand the effects rubbish has on marine life.
Before printing Alex asked children to read the book to make sure they liked the story and understood the message.
She produced it as part of the Young Enterprise Scheme in which students learn about business by starting up their own.
She funded the first print run of 100 copies via pre-sales to friends, school libraries and the public at a trade fair at Kerikeri's Packhouse Market.
The book sells for $25 with $1 going to Experiencing Marine Reserves, a Northland-based marine education trust. She's already planning a second print run.
Alex has Ngāpuhi ancestry through her father, who belongs to Te Hikutu hapū of Whirinaki, South Hokianga.
Her follow-up book will be about the effects of over-fishing.
Next year the Kerikeri High School student plans to study environmental science and commerce at the University of Otago.
The translation was done by Mark Scott (Whangārei), Nora Rameka (Takou Bay), and Tui Mathews and Te Riini Henare (Kaikohe).