Olly Hills is an animal lover, cicada expert and one of New Zealand's youngest published authors.

Olly was just 10 years old when he wrote Cicadas of New Zealand, a field guide on 42 different native New Zealand cicadas. It's the first and only field guide book on cicadas in the country, and it came about because of a conversation.

"I was in the car with Mum. We had just been discussing about a few road trips we might do to find some cicadas … it started off as a joke, a conversation about how we should totally write a book about cicadas.

"That then turned into reality roughly five minutes later when she sat me down on a computer and said, 'let's start writing'."


That was two years ago. Since then Olly has sold over 700 books, appeared on TV shows and given a TEDx Talk on his love of cicadas.

"It's always something I've been interested in. They're quite a common insect, they're easy to find. I don't know apart from that. They're just really appealing to me."

Olly spent a year researching, travelling across the country with his mum in search of different cicada species. He quickly learned the secret to capturing a cicada.

"Occasionally you can click your fingers and pretend to be a female cicada. But really the best way is to stand in one location, listen for cicadas, until you hear the right type. The trick is just patience mainly."

Olly's love for animals doesn't stop at cicadas.

"I have two rabbits, two chickens, two frogs, I have a few pet praying mantis."

And he has at least one more book in him.

"There's possibly going to be a praying mantis book shortly, but that's a behind-the-scenes secret."


Despite being a published author, Olly, like all children, isn't sure what he wants to be when he grows up.

"That's probably the hardest question I've ever been asked, probably an Entomologist."

Made with funding from