There was one very surprised girl with a very big smile on Friday at Remuera Primary School.

Holly Fisher, 10, was announced in assembly as the overall winner in the Barfoot & Thompson youth authors challenge.

As a winner, her story Gulls Bay will be published in a book with six stories from other students in Auckland.

Holly wrote a story on the importance of recycling told from the perspective of seagulls.


As the overall winner, her story will feature on the cover and be the title of the book.

The book goes on sale in October and proceeds will go to the Starship Foundation.

All Black Keven Mealamu, who has provided the illustrations for the book for the last five years, said it was an honour to be a part of the project.

"Being able to see the final product and helping to put it together and raise money for Starship is quite cool.

"I was one of the judges, so I got to have a look at all the stories. Her one was our favourite. It had a really good message," he said.

Mealamu said drawing has been a passion of his since his school days.

There were more than 340 entries from schools in the Auckland and Northland areas.

Normally a classroom of students wins, but Holly's individual story stood out from the bunch.

This year's winning students will take part in an authors' workshop, run by children's writer John Parker, where they will polish their stories for publication.

Holly said she was overwhelmed when Peter Thompson from Barfoot & Thompson read her name out as the winner.

"I was pretty excited. I didn't expect it when I went to assembly."

Holly hopes to become a writer like John Parker, who attended Remuera Primary himself, and who presented Holly with her certificate.

Parker told Holly her story was of a very high standard.

"It was a worthy winner," he said.