Arrowtown children’s author and matriarch passes

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Popular Arrowtown matriarch and children’s author Alma Stevenson died at her home on Sunday after a brave battle with cancer.

Last month the 71-year-old launched her latest book, Joe’s Journey on the Earnslaw, to coincide with the steamer’s centenary.

Her funeral on Thursday will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the boat’s maiden sailing.

Last year Alma also wrote Zac Mac the All Black to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.

She dedicated the book to her mentor, Queenstowner Amanda Cushen, and her oncologist Dr Chris Wynne and donated proceeds from book sales to the Cancer Society.

Alma had to consult the New Zealand Rugby Union to use the All Blacks brand.

Alma’s earlier children’s books, Old Red, Old Blue and Old Yellow were based, respectively, on an Austin truck, Morris truck and bulldozer that she and her late husband used on their former Southland farm.

‘Old Red’ has been used to transport the popular Arrowtown Miners’ Band.

Alma also wrote Waggoner Jack, which was principally about her father-in-law Jack Stevenson farming days.

Alma and Noel turned Jack’s Walnut Cottage at Lake Hayes into cafe and gift shop.

Alma’s survived by four children, Debbie Hall, Julie Hughes, Hayley Stevenson and Johnny Stevenson and eight grandchildren.

Her death notice asks that funeral-goers wear something bright to reflect Alma’s cheery nature.