Based on the true story of Toroa, the 500th albatross chick to hatch at the breeding colony on Taiaroa Head near Dunedin, this story follows his life as he grows from chick to adult and begins roving out across the vast Pacific Ocean. Will fishing lines snag him? Can he avoid an erupting volcano? Does a plastic island pose a threat and will he make it back to Dunedin years later to start his own family? Toroa's Journey is an inspiring and insightful story for budding environmentalists to read together or alone.

2018 Storylines Notable Book Award (non-fiction category)


Maria writes beautifully; her sentences flow like honey and she makes the journey and the bird spark with life on the page. Plus you get the evocative illustrations by Gavin Mouldey. This is a must-have glorious book. Read the full review.

I love the language in Toroa’s Journey. It’s rich and interesting, and for a book that’s narrative non-fiction, it gives as much varied vocabulary to the reader as picture books by Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley or Lynley Dodd… The illustrations are stunning, including an open-out four-page spread to show off the magnificent reach of the albatross’s wings. Read the full review.

Sample - Turoa's Journey 1

Sample page - Toroa's

Sample - Toroa's Journey 2

Sample page - Toroa's

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Journal Note

Nine years ago I visited the Albatross Centre in Dunedin to view the nesting albatross chicks. I also interviewed Ranger Lyndon Perriman about the albatross recovery programme. I wrote a factual story for Learning Media, which was published the following year. However, I held off sending the picture book story I had written about Toroa, the 500th chick that had a transmitter attached to its body, because I wanted to see if he returned to New Zealand 6-8 years later. Without giving too much away, I waited until there was good news to report so that I could end my story on a hopeful note. You'll have to read the book to find out what happened. Big thanks to the Albatross Centre and Lyndon Perriman for their support. Thanks also to illustrator Gavin Mouldey, whose illustrations are stunning throughout the book, and Potton & Burton who published it in hardback and paperback, as well as putting a gatefold, showing how big the wings are, in the book.

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