A Waikawa Beach poet and youth GP is no stranger to writing books, but his latest offering is a foray into a genre that could be just what the doctor ordered.
Although he started writing it years ago, Dr Glenn Colquhoun has only recently finished a children's book that serves as an early introduction to te reo Māori, woven together with a clever korero tara (fable).
Titled The small girl who lives next door, or Te kōtiro nohinohi e noho pātata ana, the story is of a journey of discovery for a young boy into the world of te reo Māori.
"Jack" travels deeper and deeper into the heart of te reo Māori where he discovers a new way of looking at a world he once thought he knew.
In many ways, the journey of "Jack" in the story mirrors Dr Colquhoun's own journey into the world of te reo Māori.
While attending medical school he spent time living in the Far North and was changed by his experiences. Attempting to learn a new language opened a new way of viewing the world, too.
He had since written poetry in te reo, too, although he was quick to point out that his own grasp of te reo was still in the learning stage.
Dr Colquhoun actually started writing the book 10 years ago. It had sat around waiting to be finished, and he credited illustrator Rautini O'Brien for bringing it to life.
He said a children's book was a 50/50 partnership between words and pictures.
"They both connect to tell a story. They come together to drive it forward," he said.
Dr Colquhoun started writing 30 years ago in his 20s. The son of a builder, it wasn't as if he woke up one morning and could accidentally write poetry.
He simply started to describe some of the things he was seeing and feeling, and to be creative created more creativity.
"If you practise something for long enough ideas pop up," he said.
The small girl who lives next door was a change of tack for Dr Colquhoun, who has a long list of poetry books published, which started with the release of The Art of Walking Upright in 1999.
His most recent poetry book was titled Letters To Young People, penned as an acknowledgement and response to the real-life stories he was hearing each week from patients visiting his Levin-based practice.
An Explanation of Poetry to My Father was published and written in 2001. The poems are an explanation of why the son of a builder would go and write poetry.
Playing God, Colquhuoun's third book, was published in 2002 to critical acclaim and popular support. It has sold over 10,000 copies in New Zealand and in 2007 was published in the UK.
How We Fell (2006) is a collection of love poems written to Colquhoun's ex-wife. It is the candid story of a 10-year relationship.
North South (illustrated by Nigel Brown, 2009), is a sequence of poems entwining aspects of Irish mythology with aspects of Māori mythology.
In 2010 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to research medical storytelling programmes.
The small girl who lives next door was recently reviewed by New Zealand filmmaker and author Tainui Stephens.
"A wonderful book for tamariki and all learners of the Māori language. A simple compelling story takes the reader on a journey through the ages," his review said.
"The voice of the people, our ancestry, and the land we spring from, is beautifully evoked through a tale of a not-so-chance encounter between a boy and a girl. The insights into the mana of our language, and the reasons we cherish it so, are lovingly offered."
"Children's stories, the best of them, need to be in a league of their own to succeed. The small girl who lives next door is a superior children's book. It will prompt discussion about our language in the easiest and best of ways."
"I am sure teachers will especially value this taonga. I gave a sneak preview to some Māori educators, and their children. They said, 'That's spectacular!' It is."
"E mihi nui ana ki ēnei tokorua me te whakatairanga i a rāua o te reo o wheinga ki te taumata e tika ana. He mārama ngā kōrero, he rawe ngā ataata. Koia katoa e hāngai ana ki te tōtika ki te tū tika o te reo Māori."
"Waimarie kē a tama mā a kōhine mā noki i tēnei kawenga o te aroha."