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New Zealand Book Month

Page 1 – Introduction

New Zealanders are voracious readers. Surveys show that relaxing with a good book is one of our favourite pastimes.[1] Held in September from 2006 to 2008, October in 2009,  March from 2011 to 2013 and August in 2014, New Zealand Book Month was designed to celebrate and promote this country's writing talent, support new and emerging writers, and encourage New Zealanders to buy and read more homegrown books. New Zealand Book Month did not take place in 2015 because of a lack of funding (see this post on the National Library website).

Here at NZHistory, we celebrated Book Month with 31 reasons to love New Zealand books and writing. There is a different story for each day of the month about some of the people, events, books and other publications that are part of this country's literary heritage.

This is a selection of snapshots, not a history of New Zealand writing. Well-known writers such as Robin Hyde, Allen Curnow and Booker Prize winner Keri Hulme feature alongside non-fiction icons like Herbert Guthrie-Smith's Tutira, Walter Buller's Birds and the Edmonds cookery book. The importance of children's writing is reflected in features on Avis Acres' Hutu and Kawa series, Hairy Maclary and the seven-decade-old Esther Glen Award. We also explore the role of periodicals like the School Journal and the Railways Magazine, and highlight less-celebrated tales such as Ponga and Puhihuia and Julius Vogel's futuristic Anno Domini 2000.

[1] According to A measure of culture: cultural experiences and cultural spending in New Zealand (2003), buying books and going to the library are Kiwis' first and second favourite cultural activities. The survey found that 44% of the adult population (1.3 million people) had bought a book in the previous four-week period and that in 2000/01 New Zealanders spent more than $10 million a week on print publications.

How to cite this page

New Zealand Book Month, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated