Heaven sent inspiration for Ann Sergeant

By Christine McKay

Patience and a trusty camera are the tools of trade for Dannevirke author and photographer Ann Sergeant.

When Mrs Sergeant retired after 26 years of teaching Bible in Schools, she wondered what to do next.

"I lay in bed and pondered what I was going to do now and the Lord said 'you can write a book'," she said.

Mrs Sergeant's first book, Nana Helen and the 'Mazing Monarch Butterfly, has now been followed by Nana Poppa and Tetchy Tui.

"In a roundabout way, I'm still telling stories to school children and I've another couple of books to come because I've taken some fabulous photos of fledgling birds in the garden too," she said.

With Nana Helen and the 'Mazing Monarch Butterfly almost sold out and a good response to the Tetchy Tui book, Mrs Sergeant is dreaming about what comes next.

"I always look at life with a photographer's eye and I also love to take photos of people when they're not looking," she said

"I'm not a professional, but completely an amateur who's always aware and on the lookout for shots, especially in my garden."

Have you ever watched a caterpillar crawl through the grass?

Mrs Sergeant has and it made its way to the pages of her first book and, for her second, it was a case of just sitting, watching and waiting for the birds to arrive at the new feeding station her husband, Kelly, had built in the trunk of a tree.

"He feed the birds with sugar and water and really, Tetchy Tui is our story," she said.

"I had tunnel vision and would have morning tea in the garden, with my camera at the ready. You have got to be very sneaky and I learned to go slowly, but I also spent a lot of time deleting pictures too."

From a family of printers - her grandfather and father had a linotype business in Wellington's Courtenay Place - words and ink are in Mrs Sergeant's blood.

"As a child, I used to love hearing my grandfather tell stories and I guess laying out my own books is keeping that family connection with printing."

However, there's been the occasional battle with her computer.

"Taking the photos and writing a story is easy-peasy," she said.

"But to set it up on the page and not lose it, has been the hardest part."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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