“Write it and they will come.”

I was interviewed on Newstalk ZB this morning. The topic was ‘boys and reading’. Leighton Smith wanted to know if boys are put off reading because there are too many females in publishing, writing and awards panels! Glad I didn’t take that bite man!

I think the reason many boys are put off reading is just because they haven’t come across things to read that really grab their attention and interest. I believe that boys will read if they find something interesting and cool to read - that’s it, nice and simple. 

You know that saying, “build it and they will come” ? Well with boys and reading it’s “write it and they will come.” What do you think?

Read about Benji Marshall’s upbringing and how it influences the person he is in Steppin’ with Benji Marshall 



Spartan Tattoos

Off Loading with SBW – article

Hi everyone, here’s a newspaper article about my new book for teenagers – Off Loading with Sonny Bill Williams.


What Lies Beneath

Come and see the What Lies Beneath Exhibition at the Gala Night on Friday 28th March 6pm National Library, 8 Stanley Street, Parnell. Partake in wine and nibbles while you listen to a children’s author/illustrator panel talk about the challenges and joys of creating a book, with time for a Q & A, see sneak peak previews of new books, and view the exhibition in its entirety for one night only. There will be book giveaways, printed teaching notes, and the opportunity to buy signed books. Gold coin donation. RSVP: mariagill@ihug.co.nz


SBW book review


Off Loading with Sonny Bill Williams

Off Loading with Sonny Bill Williams is the incredible story of how a determined and humble young man became a champion in three different sports  . . . and one of the most sought after athletes in the world!  Learn how Sonny did it and how you can achieve your dreams through hard work too. The book is available now. E mail me or order here http://readingwarrior.com/buy/

Off Loading with Sonny B Williams ebook cover

Watch out for the Black Dog

I read this story about NRL player Reni Maitua this morning and found it really moving.

They call depression “the black dog”. If you have those “dark thoughts” about life, about whether you have value and a bright future, I really encourage you to read this story and get help. If you know someone going through this try to get them to read it and talk with you.



black dog

Legacy of Mandela

I like the words of author Seth Godin who wrote this blog post following the death of Nelson Mandela:

“For those that seek to make a change in the world, whether global or local, one lesson of his life is this:

You can.

You can make a difference.

You can stand up to insurmountable forces.

You can put up with far more than you think you can.

Your lever is far longer than you imagine it is, if you choose to use it.

If you don’t require the journey to be easy or comfortable or safe, you can change the world.”


Teachers be like . . .

RTS Instagram

Just wanted to give a big shout to all the teachers out there doing inspirational things with their students. It’s easy to hate on teachers, there’s a  lot of negative stereotypes out there:

-  teacher said, ‘you’ll never make it, you’re headed for jail!’

-  teacher said, ‘people like you can’t learn.’

-  teacher said, ‘get out of MY classroom!’

teachers be like

I have no doubt there are teachers who say stupid things like this. But  I’m so thankful for the many teachers who encourage, believe, inspire . . . in unseen ways, the little things they do every day that show love and make a REAL difference.

I was reminded of this when reading a post by Kiwi rugby league winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck this week.


To all our teachers and parents out there –  keep planting those positive seeds in our students. We might not see much at the time but who knows what effect we are having that will bear fruit in the future. There have been many students I’ve worked with over the years who I wondered if I was even making a difference with, some even left school early, only for them to contact me later and say thanks for something I may have said to them or done that has impacted them.

Thank you Mr Max White, Mr Trevor Thwaites, Ms Sue O’Rorke, Mr Warren Lincoln . . . and the other teachers of Viscount Primary, Arahanga Intermediate and Mangere College who believed in me, challenged me, expected the best from me, were patient with me, showed grace and played a part in the journey of who I am today.




Kids Books NZ

Here’s a review of Steppin’ with Benji Marshall on the Kids Books NZ blog


Pasifikan Descendants

So proud to be a “Pasifikan” after watching today’s rugby league World Cup quarter final between Fiji and Samoa.

There was some of this




but finished with this




Proud to be a white Pasifikan today :)