18 Jul 2013

Hairy Maclary's 30th birthday celebrated

10:17 am on 18 July 2013

Birthday parties are taking place throughout the country this month for New Zealand's most famous dog.

Thirty years ago Hairy Maclary went out the gate and off for a walk in Dame Lynley Dodd's first book about him.

Many books featuring the black bitser terrier and friends such as Schnitzel von Krumm have since been published around the world.

Dame Lynley says she was working on a lot of different projects when Hairy Maclary was born. She sketched him on a "scruffy little bit of paper" and stuck it in her ideas book.

"It was probably about three years later that the piece of paper fell out at a very opportune moment when I had I think of something else in a hurry. And I thought, okay, Hairy Maclary might be a good one to do."

Dame Lynley says she believes his mischievous streak is what generations of readers have enjoyed about the books.

Marie Gradon, who has been a children's librarian for 22 years, says Hairy Maclary continues to be popular; and a bookseller, Chris Basket, says the books are consistent sellers.