Q&A: Jacqui Maguire

Eastbourne’s Jacqui Maguire is a clinical psychologist, mum, science communicator, marriage celebrant, and now author. She’s just published When the Wind Blew, a children’s book that helps kids navigate change.

Global pandemic aside, Kiwi kids are often faced with changes and challenges like marriage separation and family breakdowns, relocation, transitions to a new school, losing a loved one, or the arrival of new siblings. “I wrote this book for primary-aged children and their parents and teachers,” says Jacqui. “My hope is that children will read When the Wind Blew with the important adults in their life, and that the story will spark meaningful conversations.”

We talk to Jacqui about her childhood dreams, where to get the best Pho, and what inspired her to write a children’s book.

What is “home” for you?
Standing at the top of Muritai Park track (on the Butterfly Creek walk) looking over the Wellington harbour. I walked this track daily in my youth, and have just had to stop again at 33 weeks pregnant!

What book is beside your bed?
The Vanishing Half, recommended by the crew at Good Books. One of my favourite new book shops in the city.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An airhostess. As a 5-year-old I thought there was nothing more glamourous than the perfect hair and makeup of the in-flight cabin crew, and dreamed of all the destinations I would get to travel to.

If you could change one thing about Wellington, what would that be?
The infrastructure. After returning to live in Wellington last year I’m still in shock at how archaic Wellington’s roads, traffic, parking and public transport is. Petone foreshore’s traffic is beyond belief. Additional travel routes, increased frequency of public transport, and transforming Wellington’s inner city arteries to include light-rail (like Melbourne) seem a no-brainer.  

What’s a talent you have that people wouldn’t guess?
I can imitate Janice’s laugh off Friends pitch perfect.

What’s your go-to takeaways order?
Beef Pho from Fisherman’s Plate. It’s the best in the country.

What inspired you to write When the Wind Blew?
I wrote When the Wind Blew as we exited the first national lockdown in May 2020. Covid-19 highlighted the emotional rollercoaster that we can all experience when facing unexpected challenge and change. Whilst we can never erase difficult experiences from life, I do believe that having access to well established psychological strategies that we can flexibly implement can help us navigate these changes. In particular, learning emotion regulation strategies in childhood sets up our young people for success throughout their lifetime.

Research is clear that children need to witness these regulation strategies from the adults surrounding them, and have those strategies positively reinforced, in order to effectively learn. 

Living and working as a psychologist in New Zealand I am only too aware that access to evidence based, practical resources for parents in this area is limited. Resilience and wellbeing are also not core components of our curriculum. Therefore, a child’s ability to learn these important wellbeing skills comes down to a matter of chance – do their parents or teachers have the knowledge or skills on board or not?

I was inspired to provide an accessible, enjoyable and beautifully illustrated resource that children could get immersed in and parents could use as a reliable reference guide.

We have a signed copy of When the Wind Blew to give away.
Go in the draw to win it here.

Read more Q&As here.


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