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The new novel by Sonya Wilson

A million hectares of wild bush-clad land and one young hunter…

Nissa Marshall knows that something is hiding deep in the forests of Fiordland National Park — she’s seen their lights in the trees. 
But what are they, and why does no one else seem to notice them? 
When Nissa abandons her school camp to track down the mysterious lights, she finds herself lost in a dangerous wonderland. 
And she’s not the only one at risk — the forest and the creatures in it are under threat too. 
She wants to help, but what can a school kid do where adults have failed? 
And can she find her way back? In Fiordland, the lost usually stay lost.

Spark Hunter cover.jpg


It recently occurred to me that 'LOL' contains the same amount of letters as 'Hah' and literally describes the action of what you're doing when you say hah.

Worst acronym ever.


Dan Bussell, Social observer and disliker

  • Are the old-fashioned letters and diary entries and articles in Spark Hunter real?
    Yes, they are. The letter about McKinnon's disappearance, the articles Josh finds in class about the others who went missing, the diary entries that Nissa reads to Kaha - they are all real documents. Some of the news reports are based on real events, too. There was, for example, a big earthquake in Fiordland in 2009 that really did cause hundreds of summit-to-valley slips, and really did make the water in Doubtful Sound 'slosh around like it was a bathtub.'
  • Where did you find all these? What kind of research did you do? How can I find out more?
    I'm glad you asked! There are so many interesting people and places in Fiordland, so many stories (both true and not-quite true), so I would really encourage you to do some digging for yourself and see what else you can find out about the people and places mentioned in my book. Fiordland really is one of the world's last great wildernesses, and we should, I think, do our best to both understand it and to protect it. Here's some of the books that helped me with my research for Spark Hunter. Some of them are pretty old but you might be able to track down a copy of some of these if you are keen: There's a swathe of great information available online too, of course. ​ I found the Papers Past website great for finding old articles written about the mysteries of Fiordland: National Library's Papers Past - The Otago Witness Ngāi Tahu's website is good for a bit of local history, too. Their Kā Huru Manu project is really cool - it's an atlas showing all of the original Māori names for the rivers, lakes and settlements in Te Wai Pounamu; zoom into Fiordland and you can see not only what places were named, but why: Kā Huru Manu, Ngāi Tahu's cultural mapping project ​ If you are visiting Fiordland National Park and want to do a walk or two (which you absolutely should) a good place to start is the Department of Conservation website: Fiordland National Park ​ If you want to find out more about kākāpō or donate to recovery efforts: The Kākāpō Recovery Project ​ You can find out more about other New Zealand birds (even the ones that are now extinct) here: NZ Birds Online If you are in Southland, I recommend visiting the Southland Museum in Invercargill and the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre. ​
  • Is there going to be a second Spark Hunter book?
    Yes! Nissa and Tama haven’t finished with Forest Common yet; there’s much more of their story to tell, and I’m going to start work on it very soon.
  • Can you come to my school?
    Yes! I love visiting readers at their schools. You can ask your teacher to contact me through the contact page on this website or request an author visit through the Read NZ Writers in Schools Programme ​
  • Do you live in Fiordland?
    No. I live in Auckland at the moment but I did grow up in Southland. I went to school in Invercargill (just like Nissa), went to school camp in Deep Cove (just like Nissa), and every year I went camping in Manapōuri and Te Anau with my family (just like Nissa does, too). I still love the place, and visit there as often as I can, usually once or twice a year. I've written about Fiordland for a few different publications. You can find some of those articles in the 'press' section of this site.
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