All About Donovan Bixley

We know there are A LOT of Donovan Bixley fans out there, so we’ve created this page to keep you up-to-date with his many books, tell you a bit more about him and give you chances to WIN!


Donovan is always out and about at events around the country. Keep an eye on this page for updates.

How Māui Slowed the Sun / Te Whakatautōnga A Māui I Te Rā

On sale 12 September in English or te reo Māori, 2019 $19.99 RRP

Donovan is pleased to share the latest adventure in his Tales of Aotearoa series, with a fresh take on Māui which brings the cheeky trickster to life for a new generation of Kiwi kids.

The new book follows the success of How Māui Fished up the North Island, and the te reo Māori edition (Te Hīnga Ake a Māui i Te Ika Whenua), which was nominated for the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for te reo Māori at the 2019 NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults.

Donovan says he thoroughly enjoys exploring Māui’s world and, under the guidance of Dr Darryn Joseph and Keri Opai, is discovering deeper meaning and historic connections behind the legend of Māui.

“As well as being a cheeky trickster, Māui is a wonderfully curious character and a clever problem solver. It’s thanks to Māui’s adventure that we discover the true name of Tama-nui-te-rā – the sun. Māui has to overcome massive obstacles to slow the sun, and we see him developing some great skills as a people manager.” says Bixley.

“I love that Māui is a great role model for young tamariki. He shows all sorts of qualities that primary schools across the country are really focused on at the moment. Problem solving, teamwork, leadership, resilience, sharing of knowledge – but he’s still that pōtiki and tinihanga, the cheeky trickster, that young kids will connect with.”

How Māui Slowed the Sun / Te Whakatautōnga A Māui I Te Rā will be simultaneously published in both English and te reo Māori, with a print run planned for the te reo edition matching that of the English language edition. The size of the te reo market has been one of the pleasant surprises for the publishers, and treating both languages equally was a key element in Dr Darryn Joseph coming on board as cultural advisor.

We recently won a colouring competition to giveaway $100 worth of Donovan’s books. The lucky winner was 7-year-old Stella from Kaurilands Primary School. Congratulations Stella!

Flying Furballs Drawing Competition

We’ve announced the winners! Want to check out the winning characters? Click here to learn more about them.

Check out this video of Donovan talking about the entries and see if you can spot yours.

About Flying Furballs

Flying Furballs, an hilarious action-packed adventure series, captures the romance and excitement of the era at the dawn of aviation — set in a world of cats versus dogs. Our hero is Claude D’Bonair, a young pilot in the cat air corp, keen to prove his worth to the older pilots and live up to the memory of his father. Will cats and dogs ever live in harmony again? Will Claude survive with his nine lives intact?

On sale wherever good books are sold, $14.99 RRP


Claude must go on a rescue secret mission to a dark and dangerous castle to save the most famous pilot in Katdom.

Book 2: HOT AIR
Claude journeys to snowy Switzerland to stop the DOGZ latest dastardly plan.

Our heroes must go under cover on a secret mission to the enchanting city of Venice to recover some stolen plans.

Claude is on the run behind enemy lines, when his plane goes down in DOGZ occupied Holland.

Claude and Syd travel to Egypt to rescue CATs’ chief inventor, but soon find themselves wrapped up in a bigger mission.

Claude and Syd take a well earned rest in London, but it’s no holiday when

Claude finds himself in Russia working with an old enemy to save important CAT allies.

Book 8: Downfall
Coming in March 2020…

Meet Donovan’s cat Yuki and find out which Flying Furballs character she inspired…

10 Fun Facts About Donovan Bixley

1: Donovan was born in 1971

2: As a child he liked to draw comic strips of his teachers and classmates

3: He lived in Indonesia for four months when he was 13

4: He’s illustrated more than 100 books

5: His books have been published in 31 countries and translated into 18 languages

6: Donovan plays guitar, piano and saxophone

7: He’s also the singer and percussionist for a 13 piece funk-jazz ensemble called “Hot Tub”

8: He lives in Taupo

9: Donovan is married and has three daughters

10: Donovan’s pets have included: a black cat, a white cat, two springer spaniels, a beagle, a rabbit and two guinea pigs.

For more information on Donovan, visit his website here.

Colouring Competition: Terms & Conditions

The ‘How Māui Slowed the Sun’ colouring competition is open to New Zealand residents aged 12 years and under as of 30 November 2019. Entries close midnight 30 November, 2019. Send entries to PO Box 33319, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 or email to Open to NZ residents only. One winner will be selected by Upstart Press to receive a collection of Donovan Bixley books valued at $100 RRP. Entries will be judged on artistic merit. Entrants must have the permission of their parent or guardian. The winner will be contacted on the email address provided and must respond within 14 working days. If there is no response, Upstart Press reserves the right to select another winner. All entries become the property of Upstart Press and may be used for promotional purposes, including social media posts. The competition is overseen by Upstart Press (, BDO Tower, Level 4, 19 Como St, Takapuna Upstart Press accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered as a result of entering the Competition or accepting the prize.