Our last Mystery Reader of the school year was with the one and only Ms. Chrissy Hellyer from New Zealand! (Click on the link and you can learn a little bit more about her). I first met Chrissy in Thailand when we were both Grade 5 teachers at International School Bangkok. I was able to visit Chrissy in New Zealand at Christmas time one year and explored the gorgeous North and South islands with a rental car–driving on the LEFT side of the road. If you ever get the chance, please DO visit New Zealand.
The students were thrilled to meet her via Skype and listened to a funny story called the Wonky Donkey. The Wonky Donkey is a children’s book and song written by New Zealander Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley.
The students loved asking her questions about topics like how many sheep are there in NZ, the time difference, what is a Kiwi bird, what is the Haka, her favourite sports team (the All Blacks, of course), and the Maori language. Chrissy said she wasn’t fluent in the language of the Maori people but did count to 10 for us. Chrissy talked about how the Kiwi bird is a nocturnal animal and is sadly endangered. There used to be 12 million of them on the island and now there is around 100 000 left.
When a student asked about how many sheep are in New Zealand, Chrissy said there is a saying that there are about 4 sheep for every one person in the country. The population of New Zealand is 4.6 million. Woah, that’s a lot of sheep!
Chrissy explained that the Haka is a traditional war dance used to frighten the enemy. Now, it is ceremonial and is performed before every All Black’s international game of rugby. Watch below to check it out.
What a cool experience for us all! A big thank-you to Chrissy for taking time to read to us and answer all of our questions.