Selling Aotearoa’s Stories to the World

By News

A new digital rights portal aims to overcome the tyranny of distance and the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic to promote books from Aotearoa New Zealand to international rights’ buyers around the world.

The Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu has launched which will be a focal point for the very best of publishing in Aotearoa. It lists fiction, non-fiction and children’s titles, promotes award-winning books and celebrates the quality and range of our local writing talent. was launched alongside New Zealand’s stand at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair which runs this week (Monday 21 – Friday 25 March 2022). The fair is off to a good start with the news that local firm Beatnik Publishing has been awarded the Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publisher of the Year (Oceania category).

Seven publishers will present some of Aotearoa’s finest writers through a virtual stand on the new portal, alongside a complementary physical stand displaying the books at the fair itself, which will be run by a local stand manager. This hybrid approach to international book fairs enables publishers to experience the buzz of an international book fair from the comfort of their own offices.

“The travel restrictions brought by Covid have unsurprisingly hindered our traditional routes to make international connections and do business,” says Julia Marshall, PANZ Council Immediate Past President and publisher of Gecko Press.

“However, it has also forced us all to think creatively and critically about how we could do things differently. While nothing beats meeting in person, the hope is this site will open more doors and help grow the presence of literature from New Zealand storytellers in more international markets.”



The site can be viewed at: and if you would like to sign up to the internationally focussed newsletter please subscribe here.

PANZ would like to acknowledge Creative New Zealand who through their International Programme support New Zealand publishers to attend international book fairs, including PANZ’s attendance at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the development of


Publishers’ Pick 2021

By News

It was cruel to ask but, as the possibility of a summer break looms tantalisingly close and the need to sort those summer reading lists grows, we tasked publishers with choosing their favourite books of the year. And NZ publishers haven’t disappointed with a plethora of fantastic titles to add to the summer reading pile.  The variety is phenomenal with te ao Māori and diverse voices a clear focus.  The pandemic is evident too in both fiction and non-fiction. Books on well-being, cooking and horticulture are other favourites; clearly skills we’ve been honing during lockdown.

So relax, and take a dive into some of the wonderful books published in Aotearoa in 2021

 Sue Wootton, Publisher, Otago University Press
Otago University Press had 20 new babies in 2021, and we love them all! But there’s one title that is especially dear to our hearts: Ngā Kete Mātauranga: Māori Scholars at the Research Interface, edited by Jacinta Ruru and Linda Waimarie Nikora. This beautiful and very readable book gathers the stories of 24 Māori academics, who share their personal journeys and reveal what being Māori has meant for them in their work. We were honoured to be publishers of such an important project and we’ve been delighted that the book has been so warmly welcomed into the world, sparking so many conversations and enhancing understanding about how mātauranga Māori is positively influencing Western-dominated disciplines of knowledge in the research sector.

In a strong year for publishers of New Zealand fiction, we give a shout out to Mākaro Press for their publication of Otago University Press poet Bryan Walpert’s novel Entanglement. Wonderful writer, wonderful novel and – as with all of Mākaro’s titles – a quality production.

Mary McCallum, Publisher Mākaro Press
Entanglement by Bryan Walpert is our only title for 2021 and therefore our firm favourite! Wonderfully the Listener has selected it for the best books of 2021. Bryan is known in this country for his poetry and short fiction, including a novella that won the Seizure Viva La Novella Prize in Australia last year, and Entanglement is his first novel. It’s an erudite and elegantly written work that weaves three apparently separate stories: a time-traveller in the US, a novelist researching at the Centre for Time in Sydney and a writer at a lake retreat in New Zealand. I love that Maddy Hamill, author of Specimen, says: “I freaking love this novel”, and that Gigi Fenster, author of A Good Winter, says she slowed down her reading because she didn’t want to finish. So hard to pick my favourite book by another publisher as there are some superb books out there, so I’ll choose two!

Gigi Fenster’s A Good Winter (Text) is driven by the voice of its protagonist, Olga, a warped, neglected, jealous woman who stalks another woman with tragic consequences. Not an easy thing to write a novel with the voice of such a person centrestage, but Gigi carries it off thrillingly and compellingly. I loved the subtext, too, about the roles women have as carers/mothers and the lives of the privileged vs the not-so-privileged. Sue Orr’s Loop Tracks (VUP) is another tour de force, with a protagonist almost exactly my age, that brings up so much for me that is both personal and political from the 70s, where the novel starts, and on into recent times with lockdown and Covid. The personal/political nexus is nuanced and intricate, with unforgettable characters and scenes. Reading this book gave me so many ah-hah! moments and friends my age have said the same.

Kevin Chapman, Director, Upstart Press
My personal favourite for the year was Tikanga: An Introduction to te ao Māori.  The reason is that it is a book Pat and I wanted to publish nearly 40 years ago and were told it couldn’t be done. Then we resurrected the idea some years ago and finally got it over the line, and it has been so heartening to see the reaction to the book. Among a number of special books this year, it stands out for me.

A book that has stood out for me this year is Hei Taonga Mā Ngā Uri Whakatipu: Treasures for the Rising Generation (Te Papa Press). It is not only beautifully produced, but wherever you open it you find treasures in the text

Robbie Burton, Publisher & Managing Director, Potton & Burton
As usual, I have to apply the standard caveat – I can’t, indeed I won’t choose my favourite book among this year’s crop, as there is always something to love about what is on my list. But I have taken an enormous amount of satisfaction from publishing Annette Lees’ After Dark: Walking into the Nights of Aotearoa. Really fine literary non-fiction is something to be cherished, and it is so pleasurable to publish, which was absolutely the case with this book.

In the same vein Victoria University Press have published a couple of non-fiction crackers this year. I was swept up by the way Miro Bilbrough writes, and was completely absorbed by In the Time of the Manaroans, a book that I thought deserved to get more attention that it did, while I deeply admired Tranquillity and Ruin. Danyl McLauchlan’s mind is something to behold.

 Quentin Wilson, Publisher Quentin Wilson Publishing
My favourite QWP title for the year: Prague In My Bones: A Memoir by Jindra Tichy

My favourite other publisher’s title for the year: After Dark: Walking into the nights of Aotearoa by Annette Lees – Potton & Burton

Toitoi Media Ltd
To celebrate the courage, curiosity and creativity of New Zealand’s next generation of writers and artists, we have created the Jillion 2 — a collection of some of the most amazing work from Toitoi 13-24. A follow-up to 2019’s Jillion, the Jillion 2 is a beautiful, hardcover book (complete with ribbons) that will be enjoyed by readers all over New Zealand and even the world. A perfect gift, available in 2022 – see for more information.

A book we’ve admired this year is Mangrove by our very own submissions editor, Glenda Kane, and artist, Lisa Allen, published by Bateman Books. It’s a story with a powerful environmental message that has already inspired great writing and art submissions to Toitoi from passionate young creatives.

Louise Russell, Publisher, Bateman Books
It’s always hard to choose the book I was most proud to publish in any given year, especially as Bateman publishes such a diverse list. However, I think because we have had so much time at home nesting of late, the cookbooks and gardening book we published in 2021 have been the most satisfying to watch take shape. Therefore, my pick would have to be Ashia Ismail-Singer’s Saffron Swirls and Cardamom Dust, a feast for all the senses. And I would have been so proud to publish Lucy Mackintosh’s fascinating Shifting Grounds, though I doubt anyone could have improved on the beautiful job BWB did in producing that book.

Alex Hedley, New Zealand Publisher, HarperCollins New Zealand
Never thought I’d say this(!), but the highlight of my publishing year was National Identity by Simon Bridges. Simon was an A++ author, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him. He’s an intelligent writer, and we’ve had compliments from all corners.

What I wish I’d published: well I’m a sucker for a bestseller, so it’s hard to go past Lost and Found by Toni Street. Another great year from Jenny and Michelle at A&U (still the ones to catch!).

Michelle Hurley, Publisher, Allen & Unwin
Times Like These by Michelle Langstone

I love everything about this book: the prose, the cover and design, and the author. A joy to publish.

The Mirror Book by Charlotte Grimshaw

I did not expect to come away having read this feeling so fiercely protective of the young Charlotte, but it’s just one of the many remarkable aspects of this deservedly lauded memoir.

Sam Elworthy, Director, Auckland University Press
Favourite book published: I’m going to sneak in a double — Paula Morris and Alison Wong’s A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand and Chris Tse and Emma Barnes’ Out Here: An Anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ Writers from Aotearoa. They are two anthologies of New Zealand writing that allowed communities to see themselves and their imaginative worlds out in lights. And both have been brilliantly brought together by editors doing the hard mahi finding new voices and brilliant stories.

Book most admired from another publisher: Can I pick an old one, or a whole series, in Scotty and Stacey Morrison’s te reo Māori learning books for Penguin. Superbly accessible, well constructed, well thought out learning books that have helped inspire many. Kia kaha te reo Māori!

The Team at Penguin Random House
The Edible Backyard
by Kath Irvine has to be one of my highlights for 2021. It is the perfect garden companion with glorious photos and illustrations. Kath is a font of knowledge and her relaxed, witty style is a delight to read: like having an all-knowing aunt at your beck and call. I am immensely proud of She is Not Your Rehab by Matt Brown and Sarah Brown. It is a powerful and inspirational story, and I am thrilled with the success it has had. The feedback from traditional and non-traditional readers alike has been truly rewarding and it is a welcome reminder of the life-changing magic a book can offer.

On the very top of my jealousy list sits Bill Hammond: Across the Evening Sky. This book is a beam of light in a dingy year. A seriously spectacular publication from Sarah Pepperle and the team at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū.
Rachel Eadie, Publishing Executive, PRHNZ

I’m pleased and proud to have published Tania Clifton-Smith’s How to Take a Breath in this strange year we’ve had. It’s a book that is easy to read and simple to use, and has lessons for us all whether we are wanting to hold our anxieties at bay, sleep better or see improvements in our exercising. And a bonus is that Tania is an expert on Long Covid, which we’d all barely heard of when the book was commissioned. When in doubt, breathe out! And if you just want to luxuriate in some fabulous images of flourishing gardens of all kinds around Aotearoa, then dip into the pages of In the Company of Gardeners (Juliet Nicholas and Sue Allison) to be transported to quiet and lovely places and be introduced to the talented and fascinating people who developed them.

From other publishers’ lists, I really wish we had Nigel Slater – such a sublime blend of the practical with writing that is both literary and entertaining.
Margaret Sinclair, Non-fiction Publisher, PRHNZ

The pre-lockdown half of 2021 feels like an eternity ago, so while there are lots of books I am proud to have published from then — not least the memoirs The Mirror Book and From the Centre — my pick is a novel that also touches on memoir. Launched, sadly, on the very night the Auckland lockdown was announced, Crazy Love by Rosetta Allan is an honest, open, heart-breaking and funny novel about a marriage with more than its fair share of challenges. It was such a brave book to write because it draws so heavily on Rosetta’s own life. In doing so, it prompts us to consider the line between fiction and memoir. Might fiction, in being freer from libel and the fear of hurting others, let you be more truthful about your reality? How truthful is reality when distorted by drugs, illness, desperation and memory? Is fiction pure invention or re-creation and shaping of life? Not that you have much time to dwell on such questions as the story rockets along and you really don’t want to put it down.

Another book about both emotions and finding a form to express them is Johanna Emeney’s Felt, published by Massey University Press earlier this year. This a superb collection of poetry, beautifully produced.
Harriet Allan, Fiction Publisher, PRHNZ

Grrrrr, it’s a tie. Homecooked by Lucy Corry is a brilliant, beautiful and inspiring seasonal cookbook by a deeply talented and truly great New Zealand food writer that (I promise) you will return and return and return to forever. Megan Dunn’s Things I Learned at Art School is Gen X genius and totally inimitable.

I’m admiring of Jared Savage’s Gangland from HarperCollins and also Lana Lopesi’s very excellent (and very beautifully covered) Bloody Woman from BWB.
Claire Murdoch, Head of Publishing, PRHNZ

2022 will, for me, forever be associated with our Diary of a Wimpy Kid series: as the mother of an eight year old in lockdown books have been more important than ever and this series has brought much light relief to our days. I have enjoyed sharing them around the neighbourhood and popping into the office to see if advances of the new one had arrived. My most admired book from another publisher this year is Should We Stay Or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver (so bracingly funny and imaginative yet true and poignant) although in terms of marketing and publicity it would have to be Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You – that book has been absolutely everywhere – nice work A&U!
Becky Innes, Director, PRHNZ

Helen McNeil, Cloud Ink Press
My favourite pick for this year’s publications has to be, without doubt, The Time Lizard’s Archaeologist by Trisha Hanifin, published by Cloud Ink Press. Trisha’s main narrator is a “traveller” who experiences alternative times and realities, thus bringing to light the effects of overexploitation of the world’s resources and of a mysterious virus. The rise of a fundamentalist religious order that takes control in response to the breakdown of society is frightening and so easily could be true.

Ten years in the making, this book catches the zeitgeist of our current world. It is not a straightforward narrative, using many voices and many world views to explore the histories, the environments, the world views of diverse peoples, all living on the endangered “blue marble” that is our Earth. Two things stop the book being about despair. Firstly, individuals of a younger generation who learn to “travel” and thus to learn, and the myriad expressions of spiritual guardians of the earth who live in the diverse realities.

If you like reading a book that will stay with you and make you think, then this is a good choice.

Two other books from Cloud Ink Press deserve a mention. Firstly Kerry Harrison’s Hold the Line is a nuanced novel based around the 1981 protests against the Springbok Tour. 2021 is the fortieth anniversary of this event that almost caused a civil war in New Zealand. There has been very little fiction written about these times and Kerry’s book catches the societal violence, the family breakdown and the racial prejudice that surfaced during this time. It’s very readable and not at all didactic. Secondly, Fresh Ink 2021 which is Cloud Ink’s third anthology of New Zealand writing. Loosely based on responses to Covid, the stories, poems and art works are wide ranging. This is the strongest collection of stories Cloud Ink has published so far.

Alessandra Zecchini, Media Director, Oratia Books
Among Oratia’s picture book list this year, Jill Bevan-Brown’s debut really touched me. Blimmin’ Koro shows how family aroha stays strong for a father and grandfather who succumbs to dementia, a message that resonated with recent experience in our family. Trish Bowles’ sensitive illustrations help transform what could be a sad story into something uplifting and full of love.

This year has marked the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death and while Covid has frustrated some of the planned celebrations among the Italian community, it hasn’t stopped some memorable publishing. Marco Sonzogni’s Quantum of Dante reproduces the entire Divine Comedy in one slim, beautifully bound volume. This is a gem of a book — inventive, fun, and superbly designed and printed by Beatnik. Bravo!

Lynette Evans, Publishing Manager, Scholastic New Zealand
Let’s be honest, we parents, I mean publishers, never ever have favourites! And as for 2021, we are happy to have actually survived to the almost-end. There are many books that the Scholastic New Zealand team is proud to have published this year, but there’s one particularly plucky and quietly gentle one that we love because it ignites the imagination and celebrates discovery, determination and daring to dream. These, along with an unstoppable spirit of adventure and the unfailing love of family, are what made Ming’s Iceberg, written by Kiri Lightfoot and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews, a joy for us to publish for children and anyone who looks at our beautiful, big wide world with a sense of wonder and what-if . . .

And the book we admire so very much (that we didn’t publish) is Gavin Bishop’s Atua, Māori Gods and Heroes. It is a treasure.

Rachel Lawson, Publisher, Gecko Press
No favourites! But in the spirit of publisher’s choice, I’ll nominate Aurore Petit’s A Mother Is a House. For me this book still carries the sparkle of its French publisher Valérie Cussaguet as she presented it to me at the Montreuil book fair, heaving with pre-pandemic crowds two years ago –  animatedly pointing out favourite illustrations and insisting I look again to catch the details. The book describes a mother through a baby’s eyes – she blazes off the page in neon colour: a food dispenser, a doctor, a hillside, an artwork, an umbrella. It’s fun to read with children and a pretty nice gift for a mother too.

As for other publishers’ books, I’ve been captured by The Abundant Garden by Niva and Yotam Kay, a book that’s so accessible and goodhearted it’s convinced me I can easily create vegetable patch bounty from a wind-blasted deep-clay hillside in Wellington. Thank you, Allen and Unwin!

Christine Dale and Jenny Nagle, OneTree House
As you say choosing a favourite is unfair so under protest our favourite child PROTEST: Shaping Aotearoa by Mandy Hager.

What we would have liked to have published, we think the groundbreaking anthologies have been awesome this year – A Clear Dawn: anthology of Asian writing and OUT – both AUP titles

Kiwi authors and books about emotions find favour with our kids

By News

Every year, Kiwi kids get the chance to vote for their favourite books and Whitcoulls proudly publish the results. Now in its 23rd year, the 2021 Kids’ Top 50 Books List announced today (Friday, October 1, 05:00am) shows the huge popularity of Kiwi authors, books about emotions and those in aseries.

Whitcoulls received more votes than ever this year – over 34,000 in total – and local authors comprised nearly one quarter of the Top 50. Four books by Kiwi authors came near the top of the List, including Rebekah Lip and Craig Phillips’ bestselling Aroha Series (#2) and their latest book How Do I Feel? (#4), which they wrote to help children improve their emotional literacy.

Whitcoulls Book Manager Joan Mackenzie says, “Books with a focus on helping children understand their emotions is a strong theme this year and most of them are by homegrown authors, including The Rainbow in My Heart (#26) by Jessica Urlichs and Rebekah Ballagh, and Kiwicorn (#48) by Kat Merewether.”

While the Harry Potter Series once again claimed the number one spot, following hot on the heels of the boy wizard are book series with broad appeal, not least Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man Series (#3); Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series (#6); and local author James Russell with his Dragon Defenders Series (#10). Nearly half the books voted into the Top 50 in 2021 were part of a series and close to 38 percent are new to the List.

“Happily, a significant number of books in the Kids’ Top 50 are by New Zealand authors and illustrators, and young readers will be spoilt for choice with 15 exciting new books to read and enjoy on this year’s List,” says Mackenzie.

Not surprisingly, classic books both old and new, are a mainstay of the Top 50 List. This year, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is at #8; Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat was voted into the #21 spot; and books by Roald Dahl came in at #27 and #28.

Beloved Kiwi books Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy appeared at #5 and The Little Yellow Digger at #15. These timeless books rub shoulders with modern day classics and include a body of work by scores of hugely popular writers, such as Andy Griffiths, Dav Pilkey and David Walliams.

The Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 Books List reflects the reading habits of the nation’s children and Whitcoulls is proud to share what they love to read. In challenging times, it is heartening to know Kiwi kids’ affection for books is as strong as ever.

The List for 2021 will be published online at when the embargo lifts on Friday, October 1, 2021 at 5:00am.


By News


The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc (NZSA) and the Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ) are shocked the National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ) has announced plans to handover hundreds of thousands of books from its collection to the notorious Internet Archive.

The Internet Archive’s scanning and online distribution of books has been condemned internationally as piracy on a massive scale.[1] This activity by the Archive is the subject of a major lawsuit by international publishers, representing authors from around the world, and supported by authors’ groups.[2]

Our organisations represent thousands of authors and dozens of publishers from across Aotearoa New Zealand. In recent years leading authors from New Zealand, including Catherine Chidgey, Keri Hulme, Elizabeth Knox and Damien Wilkins, have had their books illegally distributed online for free by the Internet Archive, forcing publishers and authors to repeatedly spend time and money taking enforcement action.

But the piracy of treasured New Zealand works continues unabated. On the day of the National Library’s announcement, works by Janet Frame, Patricia Grace, Keri Hulme, Witi Ihimaera, Albert Wendt and many other leading authors were being illegally distributed by the Internet Archive.

‘We are stunned the National Library would partner with internet pirates that damage New Zealand literature on a daily basis,’ says PANZ President Graeme Cosslett. ‘The Internet Archive’s repeated infringements of New Zealand works shows their true nature – no claim to made-up laws, fake protocols or sanctimonious ideals can obscure this – they are committed to taking work from Aotearoa’s authors and publishers. How can the National Library stand alongside internet pirates and not New Zealand’s own literary community?’

‘The Internet Archive’s online distribution of copyright books is illegal,’ says NZSA Chief Executive Jenny Nagle, ‘American colleagues have described what the Internet Archive is doing as “no different than heaving a brick through a grocery store window and handing out the food – and then congratulating yourself for providing a public service.” Now their made-up ruse of ‘controlled digital lending’ means they’re simply asking people to form an orderly line around the block before receiving stolen goods. Hearing our own National Librarian repeat this lawless rationale is frightening.’

The National Library pleads that an ‘opt-out’ clause for rights holders of books given to the Internet Archive will address rightsholders’ concerns. Like the wider agreement, this mechanism has no standing in law, here or abroad. It appears to make claim to a presumed consent that simply does not exist, as shown by the scale of the current lawsuit from affected rightsholders.

This partnership directly contravenes international copyright treaties to which New Zealand is a signatory. If the National Library follows through with this scheme it will jeopardise New Zealand’s global standing as a place where creative industries can flourish. ‘It amounts to

the National Library exporting its problem – washing its hands of it – to become instead the problem of individual authors, publishers, family estates and other rights holders around the world,’ says Cosslett. ‘This is not how New Zealand typically behaves on the world stage, nor does it reflect our nation’s values as a responsible global actor.’

Authors and publishers invest vast amounts of time, energy, and resource into working alongside New Zealand libraries, including the National Library, to provide readers with access to books. This scheme jeopardises our local literary ecosystem. ‘Internet Archive piracy challenges the livelihoods of Kiwi authors and publishers, who work hard in tough market conditions, to bring Aotearoa the stories we treasure,’ says Nagle. ‘The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) appears to think this scheme comes at no cost. But it brings heavy long-term costs, costs that fall squarely on local authors, publishers and the creative sector.’

We acknowledge that the National Library is under pressure to find a solution for these books. Placing them offshore with internet pirates is not the answer. On hearing, by chance, of this scheme last Friday we have sought urgent meetings with Minister Jan Tinetti but have been met with silence.

We call on Minister Jan Tinetti and DIA Chief Executive Paul James to overturn this radical alliance with a pirate organisation. Authors and publishers will be reviewing all their current relationships with National Library in light of this total disregard for New Zealand books and creativity.



For further information or to speak with Jenny Nagle, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Society of Authors or Graeme Cosslett, President of the Publishers Association of New Zealand, please contact or



The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ Inc.)

Established in 1934 as the New Zealand PEN Centre and remains the principal organisation for New Zealand authors. It is a membership-based arts organisation, representing over 1,730 writers nationally through eight branches, and many hubs. For over 30 years, the organisation campaigned for a Public Lending Right to compensate authors for the loss of royalties on library use of their books. In 1973, the Authors’ Fund was introduced by Norman Kirk and over 1,400 authors benefited from PEN’s initiative. The Society works closely with our industry partners, government, and Creative New Zealand to ensure that the professional interests of writers are strongly represented on all issues.


The Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu

PANZ actively represents publishers’ interests to industry and government. The PANZ advocacy team works to inform the relevant government departments and industry bodies of key issues facing book publishers and how we can work effectively together. Strong support from the publishing industry is vital to this work. Association members are a diverse mix of general, literary and educational publishers, ranging from small independent niche publishers to large multinationals. PANZ is an incorporated society headed by a President and seven council members. The Council is supported by an Association Director and a Membership Services Manager.

Creative Rights

Visit for more information on Aotearoa New Zealand’s writing and publishing ecosystem.


Legal Action by International Publishers



Report shows Kiwis took solace in books in 2020

By News

In 2020 books were a powerful comfort in stressful and uncertain times. Whether it was home-schooling children due to school closures, escaping reality via fiction, or learning new skills. So as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded it is not surprising it was also a rollercoaster year for the New Zealand publishing industry.

The latest New Zealand Publishing Market Size Report 2020, completed by Nielsen Book Research for the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ)/ Te Rau o Tākapu shows publishers have proved remarkably buoyant, despite the turmoil of bookstore closures, shipping delays and cancelled author events.

The report highlights the $302.2 million contribution the publishing industry makes to New Zealand’s creative economy, an increase of 3% on 2019.

Growth came from several sectors―all New Zealand-published content sold domestically grew 13% year-on-year, digital formats for the general consumer market grew 15% by volume, and the online sales channel experienced an uplift of 60% by value.

This growth in digital revenue was accelerated by both bookstore and library closures during the pandemic affecting access to new print titles. But despite the market evolving to meet conditions and the gains seen in digital formats, Kiwis still have a strong preference for physical print books.

In 2020, print book sales increased 6% to $135.3m, accounting for a 90% volume share of the total market.

Both children’s books and the fiction category experienced value growth around 10%, but Kiwis clearly wanted the comfort and escape of fantasy worlds, as non-fiction recorded a slight value decline of 1%.

There was continuing growth in Māori-language publishing, with the data showing a 24% increase in unit sales on 2019.

The figures are not as rosy in the export sector, with a 13% decline in earnings from New Zealand content as access to international markets, rights fairs and other routes to market were curtailed during the pandemic. This drop was particularly felt in the educational publishing sector which faced a reduction in exports to the US and UK, however exports to other markets grew in 2020, with content sent to Australia up 12% and Asia increasing by a significant 39%.

“In the post COVID-19 world, we hope to consolidate the gains made as more consumers rediscover the pleasure of reading. Our job now is to rebuild our export markets, which provide vital income for New Zealand authors and publishers alike, while restrictions to international travel persist,” says Immediate Past President, PANZ Julia Marshall.

Click here for the highlights of the report.

Ockham Book Awards logo


By News





‘Knockout’ short story collection wins country’s richest writing prize

Whanganui writer Airini Beautrais has won the $57,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for her book Bug Week – the first person to take out the category for a collection of short stories in more than a decade.

Beautrais is well-known as a poet, but this is her first-ever book of fiction, published by Victoria University Press. She received the prize ahead of acclaimed novelists Catherine Chidgey and Pip Adam, both previous winners, and Brannavan Gnanalingam, shortlisted for the fiction prize in 2018. The awards ceremony, emcee’d by Jack Tame, was an Auckland Writers Festival marquee event held in the Aotea Centre this evening.

The Fiction category’s convenor of judges, Kiran Dass, says Bug Week is a knockout from start to finish.

“Casting a devastating and witty eye on humanity at its most fallible and wonky, this is a tightly-wound and remarkably assured collection. Atmospheric and refined, these stories evoke a strong sense of quiet unease, slow burning rage and the absurdly comic.”

The Awards’ guest international fiction co-judge, award-winning American novelist Tommy Orange says, “I was consistently surprised by sentences, the beauty and singular language. If the book were a bug, it would be a big one, with teeth and venom, with wings and a surprising heart, possibly several, beating on every page with life.”

One of this country’s most respected writers, Dunedin’s Vincent O’Sullivan, won the General Non-Fiction Award for his work, The Dark is Light Enough: Ralph Hotere A Biographical Portrait (Penguin Random House NZ).

Category convenor Dr Sarah Shieff says as a biographer, O’Sullivan displays masterly skill in the layering of information, observation and anecdote.

“This is a sensitive, detailed portrait of one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most important modern artists, shaped around the four pou of Hotere’s identity:  his Māoritanga, his faith, his whenua, and his whānau. The judges would like to commend Vincent O’Sullivan for an extraordinary achievement in biography.”

Celebrated Christchurch poet Tusiata Avia won the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry for her collection The Savage Coloniser Book (Victoria University Press). She is the first Pasifika woman ever to win this award.

Poetry category convenor Dr Briar Wood says Tusiata Avia’s The Savage Coloniser Book is an enthralling performance.

“The violence of shared and fractured histories surfaces throughout the collection like liquefaction, unsettling, displacing, disrupting. The poet’s experience of hospitalisation and seizures likewise overflows, mingling with the ancient arts of spiritual possession to inspire contemporary outpourings.

“In a year of outstanding poetry publications that respond to Covid, Black Lives Matter, the Christchurch Massacre, and ongoing violence against women, she expresses the outrage shared by many, while maintaining faith that love helps the healing process. It’s a book bursting with alofa, profound pantoums, profanity and FafSwaggering stances, garrulously funny, bleakly satirical, magnificent.”

Wellington chef and food writer Monique Fiso won the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction for the lavishly illustrated work Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine (Godwit, Penguin Random House NZ), named after her internationally lauded restaurant.

“The recipes in Monique Fiso’s first, extraordinary book occupy fewer than half of its pages. The rest is a tour de force of Māori knowledge, written from a Māori perspective.

“For many of us this will be our introduction to the indigenous cuisine of our own land, and its ingredients, practice, culture, history and knowledge. Monique Fiso’s text is hard-won, inspiring and utterly original in scope; the book is also beautifully designed and photographed,” says category convenor of judges Dale Cousens.

Te Mūrau o te Tuhi, a discretionary Māori Language Award, was presented this year to pioneering language and tikanga academic Tā Tīmoti Kāretu for his landmark work Mātāmua ko te Kupu!, which offers a lifetime of insights into the artforms of haka and waiata, published by Auckland University Press.

In presenting this award, judge Paraone Gloyne said: “Mātāmua ko te kupu! Koinei te kōrero a Tā Tākuta Tīmoti Kāretu, ka mutu, kāore i tua atu i a ia hei whakatauira i tēnei tauākī āna, i ōna hekenga werawera ki te reo i āna kaupapa huhua, mai, mai. Ko tana mahi hoki tērā mō te reo i ngā mahi a Tānerore, e tātai mai ana i roto i tana pukapuka nei, āna kitenga, ōna mōhiotanga, huri noa i tana takahi i roto i tērā ao hei kaihaka, hei kaitito, hei kaiako, hei kaiwhakawā, anō hoki. Tō tātou māri hoki kua kōpakina ōna whakaaro ki āna anō kupu ki te reo, i roto hoki i te wana, me te kupu horipū.”

“Lyric is paramount! This is the axiom of Sir Dr Tīmoti Kāretu, and there is no other than he who best personifies this statement in all his labours for the Māori language over countless years.

“His efforts for te reo in traditional Māori performing arts are also recounted in his book, his views and knowledge informed by his journey in that realm as a performer, a composer, a tutor and a judge. We are fortunate that his reflections are encapsulated in his own words in the Māori language with such passion and candour.”

The General Non-Fiction, Poetry, Illustrated Non-Fiction category and Māori Language Award winners each took home a $10,000 prize.

Four MitoQ Best First Book Awards were also presented at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.

The Hubert Church Prize for a best first book of Fiction: Victory Park by Rachel Kerr (Mākaro Press).

The E.H. McCormick Prize for a best first work of General Non-Fiction: Specimen: Personal Essays by Madison Hamill (Victoria University Press).

The Jessie Mackay Prize for a best first book of Poetry: I Am a Human Being by Jackson Nieuwland (Compound Press).

The Judith Binney Prize for a best first work of Illustrated Non-Fiction: Hiakai: Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso (Godwit, Penguin Random House).

Each MitoQ Best First Book Award winner received $2,500 and a 12-month membership subscription to the New Zealand Society of Authors.

“This is a year of happy surprises and well-deserved recognition, from big names like O’Sullivan and Hotere to international stars like Monique Fiso, from a long-awaited award for Tusiata Avia to a major accolade for Airini Beautrais’ first work of fiction. The variety of publishers represented here also suggests the good health and high quality of our local industry,” says Paula Morris, a trustee of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which governs the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.


The 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards judges were:

Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction: writer and reviewer Kiran Dass; books editor and award-winning feature writer Paul Little; writer Claire Finlayson, former Programme Director of the Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival; and award-winning US writer and enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Tommy Orange.

General Non-Fiction Award: biographer, editor and academic Sarah Shieff; filmmaker and lecturer in Māori history at Victoria University Wellington Arini Loader (Ngāti Raukawa, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Whakaue); and Dunedin bookseller Michael Yeomans.

Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry: Writer, poet and academic Briar Wood (Te Hikutu ki Hokianga, Ngāpuhi Nui); teacher and award-winning poet and novelist Anne Kennedy; and professor of English at the University of Otago Jacob Edmond.

 Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction: Dale Cousens (Ngāruahine) of the National Library of New Zealand; bookseller and former publisher Brian Phillips; and writer, multi-award-winning graphic designer and magazine art director Jenny Nicholls.

Te Mūrau o te Tuhi  Māori Language Award: Paraone Gloyne (Ngāti Raukawa ki Wharepūhunga, Ngāti Maniapoto) is a prominent composer, orator, performing artist, and tikanga Māori and te reo Māori advisor.

The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards are supported by Ockham Residential, Creative New Zealand, Jann Medlicott and the Acorn Foundation, Mary and Peter Biggs CNZM, MitoQ, Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand and the Auckland Writers Festival.

To find out more about the winners’ books go to


PANZ Book Design Awards entries open

By News

We are delighted to announce that entries for the 2021 PANZ Book Design Awards are now open.

You can enter the awards here.

There are some slight changes to the eligibility criteria this year so please do make sure to check out the details on our website.

And don’t forget to support your emerging designers.  There is a $1000 prize up for grabs to the winner of the 2021 Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand Emerging Designer Award. So please help us to spread the word by forwarding the details on to your in-house and freelance designers who may be eligible.

The new online entry option for the Emerging Designer award can be found here.

It is our great pleasure to welcome Booksellers NZ as the new sponsor of the Booksellers Aotearoa NZ People’s Choice Award.  This is a highlight of awards night and gives those at the ceremony the opportunity to pick their own favourites. Booksellers is joining the illustrious list of our long-time supporters, sponsors Nielsen Book, 1010 Printing, Allen & Unwin New Zealand, Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand, Penguin Random House New Zealand, HarperCollins New Zealand, Upstart Press, Edify Ltd and Scholastic New Zealand.  We are very grateful for the continued support of our sponsors, without which the awards would not be the success they are today.

We look forward to seeing all your wonderful entries soon.

Dates for your diaries:

The awards will close on Friday 11 June 2021.  You can enter using the digital form here.

The shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 13 July 2021 and the winners revealed at a spring ceremony in Auckland on Thursday 23 September 2021.

Remember to keep an eye on the PANZ Book Design Awards website  for more news and details of the awards ceremony. All entry forms and criteria are also available on the website.



Julia Marshall

Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for 2021 awarded to publisher Julia Marshall

By News

Julia Marshall has been selected as the 2021 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal winner, for lifetime achievement and distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature, and will be presented with her medal and deliver the 2021 Storylines Margaret Mahy lecture on 28 March at Storylines’ national awards ceremony in Auckland.

Julia Marshall has been described as “a truly innovative and fearless publisher [whose] standards of excellence never waver”. She has a record of being innovative and brave – no more so than when starting Gecko Press in 2005 after she discovered that Ulf Stark’s classic Can You Whistle, Johanna? had been translated into 20 languages but not English.

She began by selecting other quality titles previously unpublished in English, and has continued her approach to publishing quality literature for young people over the last 16 years. More recently, she began publishing titles as te reo Māori editions.

She has published numerous books selected for “Best of” lists, including in 2020, The House of Madame M by Clotilde Perrin and Migrants by Issa Watanabe by Kirkus Reviews; Bear Named Bjorn by Delphine Perret in the New York Public Library Best books for Kids 2020; The Gobbledegook Book: A Joy Cowley Anthology by Joy Cowley in the International Youth Library, White Raven selection 2020; and The Mapmakers’ Race by Eirlys Hunter as an IBBY Honour Book in 2020.

Early publishing success for Julia and Gecko Press came in the form of Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop, which won the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year award and the Junior Fiction award in 2008. Snake and Lizard was the first original New Zealand title from Gecko Press, then described as a “new, boutique independent publisher”. It is now more likely to be described as a global publishing business.
In a recent blog post Julia says, “There is a tendency in English-speaking countries to think that early childhood is a place of innocence, and that we should protect our children and avoid strong emotion and fear. We choose soft, friendly bears over wolves. We choose quick rhymes and sweet, smiling faces.

“But children also love another kind of book…, ones that produce the frisson of fear, like the deliciousness of being tickled within an inch of too much. And children too enjoy deciding for themselves what to think, what might have happened, who was right or wrong.

“For Gecko Press, story is at the heart of what we publish and we choose books where the problems and resolutions unfold without the reader being aware they are learning about the world, and people in it, good and bad. It is the old adage of show, not tell.”

In addition to making Gecko Press a publishing success story, Julia is also strongly supportive of local writers and the New Zealand children’s literature community. Over the past two years Julia has been President of the Publishers Association of New Zealand, and one of the PANZ/NZSA/CNZLA Copyright Working Group set up to protect the rights of writers and illustrators of Aotearoa.

The Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal & Lecture Award is New Zealand’s most prestigious honour for children’s authors, illustrators and publishers. Among the recipients since its inception in 1991 are Joy Cowley, Lynley Dodd, Jack Lasenby, Maurice Gee, Tessa Duder, Gavin Bishop, David Hill, Kate De Goldi, Des Hunt, Andrew Crowe, and Kids Lit Quiz originator Wayne Mills. The most recent winner was writer
Maria Gill in 2020.

The Medal and associated lecture were first presented in 1991 to Margaret Mahy in recognition of her contribution to the world of literature for children and young adults. Surprising Moments, her inaugural lecture, set the standard for those given by subsequent award-winners.

These published lectures by the champions of the New Zealand children’s literature community have enriched New Zealand’s literary heritage with their insight into the experiences, ideas, issues and concerns involved in writing and/or illustrating for children, improving literacy, and ensuring access to quality literature.

Publishers Picks of 2020

By News

2020 has been a year of uncertainty but one thing remains certain, the quality and breadth of publishing in NZ.  To celebrate we asked our members to pick the book they were most thrilled to publish. The we flipped the coin and asked which other publisher’s title they wished they’d commissioned.  From uplifting novels and thrillers, to inspirational memoirs and picture books celebrating the connectedness of the universe as well as translations of international best-selling books into te reo Māori the range is astonishing. If you still need some summer reading ideas check out the suggestions below.

Sam Elworthy, Director Auckland University Press

Sam’s favourite book of the year

J.K. Rowling, Hare Pota Me Te Whatu Manapou.

I never thought I’d get to publish Harry Potter. I also never thought I’d have a hand in getting high quality books in te reo Māori out and selling through Whitcoulls, the Warehouse, PaperPlus as well as the indies. And I LOVE our cover. Great te reo Māori translations of great books selling like hotcakes is fun.

Sam’s book he would have loved to publish:

Sara McIntyre, Observations of a Rural Nurse. This was one of those books you turn down when you love the stuff but can’t see the market. Then some other publisher loves it too and can see the market and succeeds. Ka rawe, Nicola.

Nicola Legat, Publisher Te Papa Press & Massey University Press

For Te Papa Press I so loved working with the legendary photographer Jane Ussher on Nature – Stilled. There couldn’t be a more luscious and evocative way to share the magic and mysteries of the museum’s vast natural history collection of one and half million specimens. The design by the team at InHouse is just remarkable, making this a perfect package.

At Massey University Press I’m not going to choose one – they were all amazing in their own way and I can’t choose between them. But if you push us I would venture Sara McIntyre’s Observations of a Rural Nurse. We were so privileged to introduce her astounding talent to a wider audience, and that audience has loved it.

Books we would have happily published are the kids’ books published by AUP for the Kotahi Rau Pukapuka programme, Upstart’s Charlie Upham biography by Tom Scott, PRH’s new Chelsea Winter cookbook (for the loot it would have delivered into our bank account), VUP’s marvellous Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey and, for HarperCollins, the Stan Walker memoir.

Kevin Chapman, Director, Upstart Press

I don’t think that I can pick a favourite, but obviously Searching for Charlie by Tom Scott is a standout for us. The response to the book has been incredibly heartening, especially for Tom who battled through a lot to get this finished. We thought our first print was aggressive but it disappeared in just over four weeks, and then the reprint got caught in the shipping delays. But travelling the country and seeing people come out to listen to Tom, with their stories of some connection to Charlie, has been very touching.

On what I would like to have published, One Minute Crying Time by Barbara Ewing was a book that told an important story. The reaction to a Māori-Pakeha relationship in the 50’s was shocking even if you thought you expected it. Barbara is a national icon, and it was great to see her get the coverage she deserved.

Claire Murdoch, Head of Publishing, Penguin Random House

This is such a cruel task, Shanks & Ferguson! Not least in a year when I’ve had the chance to work with that legend, Chelsea Winter, on her biggest book ever – the vegan Supergood – and see Vince O’Sullivan’s Hotere bio published at long last — but I have to say I’m proudest to produce the audiobook of Māori Made Easy – all 24 hours and more – read by the author Scotty Morrison himself, and made with the amazing roopu at Māori Television. It’s a step-by-step, immersive, introductory te reo class anyone can do – and people are just loving it.

And my stan is Stan Walker’s Impossible: My Life. What a perfect piece of publishing, beautifully written, of course, and such a killer read. Hats off to HarperCollins. 

Margaret Sinclair, Publisher – General Non-fiction, Penguin Random House

Stop Surviving Start Fighting by Jazz Thornton is my highlight of the year – I was extremely proud to see the success of this

book with its intended young audience and its huge success in both audiobook and ebook formats. Jazz’s voice of lived  experience and the hard times she has been through is both grounded and inspiring.

I wish… Bella: My Life in Food. We always knew Annabel had a great story to tell, along with her superb recipes, but hesitated too long and ‘snap’ she was taken!

Harriet Allan, Fiction Publisher, Penguin Random House

I listened to Karlo Mila reading from her new poetry collection Goddess Muscle at the wonderful Women’s Litera-tea this year and was taken back to a similar event after she published A Well Written Body back in 2008: she’s still as impressive and expressive, provocative and lyrical – it’s been worth the wait.

From my own list, Navigating the Stars by Witi Ihimaera is one of those books that leaves you with a much deeper understanding of life, the universe and everything. These are our founding myths, and Witi Ihimaera conveys their relevance, richness and complexity with humour, insight and delight. It is a momentous work. And The Tally Stick really excited me when it came in, given it was 7 years since I published Carl Nixon’s previous novel. It blew me away, and I think it’s his best novel yet. It is tense and intense, cinematic, astute, thought-provoking and utterly compelling. It was particularly pleasing having so many of the staff raving about it as well.

Catherine O’Loughlin, Children’s Publisher, Penguin Random House

2020 highlights include Vasanti Unka’s amazing I am the Universe. Prepared to be dazzled by her illustrations and the minimalist power of her words. If ever there was the perfect time to publish a story demonstrating our connectedness to everyone on the planet and everything in the universe, this is it. And it’s going global – rights sold to Penguin Random House Germany before it hit the shelves here.

I’m loving Where Is It? A Wildlife Hunt for Kiwi Kids by Ned Barraud. What a fantastic and innovative concept and lovely piece of publishing. Congrats to Ned and to Potton and Burton.

Rachel Scott, Publisher, Otago University Press

Among my many favourite books of 2020, the one I am the most proud to be publishing is Letters of Denis Glover, selected and edited by Sarah Shieff.

We contracted this book in 2014 after I shamelessly pursued Sarah, on hearing that she was working on it. I have always loved Glover’s poetry and always been intrigued by the contradictions inherent in this hugely entertaining and talented yet disastrously flawed wastrel. Since once finding him asleep on the sofa in my mother’s home (I was about 10), and passing him the gin bottle at his request (it was about 8am), I have held an ambivalent fascination for all things Glover. I knew Sarah would do a superb job, and I was delighted to read the intro to the Listener’s review: ‘A brilliant collection of Denis Glover’s letters reveals the poet’s talent, sharp observations and bad behaviour, says his contemporary, Peter Bland.’ Job done.

A book I would love to have published is Leonard Bell’s magnificent Marti Friedlander: Portraits of the Artists (Auckland University Press). It is so good to see these classic portraits given the treatment they deserve.

Carolyn Lagahetau, Editorial Director, Oratia Books

With insect populations declining in much of the world, here in Aotearoa we need to be doing our bit to help our own little critters. I was delighted to work with author Dawn McMillan and illustrator Stephanie Thatcher to celebrate weta and friends beetle, huhu and others as they make mischief in the second of Dawn’s nature-themed picture books, There’s a Weta on my Sweater – He Wētā kei runga i tōku Paraka, which we published in early November.

Did that book make me bug-eyed? It might have, because one of the books I’d love to have published is George Gibbs’ An Exquisite Legacy: The life and art of New Zealand naturalist G.V. Hudson (Potton & Burton). Photography of insects has improved immeasurably in recent decades, but there’s something truly wondrous about hand-drawn illustrations like those Hudson produced.

Jenny Hellen, Publishing Director, Allen & Unwin

The Book of Overthinking was published at the very start of the year, before we even knew the word Covid, and it’s turned out to be one of the year’s most essential books for coping with life’s insecurities. I’m enormously proud to have published it, to be able to help Gwendoline get her excellent advice out in such an accessible way. It’s helped so many people struggling with all the what ifs and worries that this year has thrown at us. In publishing terms, it’s a phenomenon with over 25,000 copies sold so far and rights sales in key territories.

And hats off to Scholastic NZ for their creative ongoing publishing in the ‘Wonky Donkey’ genre. It’s great to see such success.

Alex Hedley, New Zealand Publisher, HarperCollins NZ

Well February seems like a long time ago now but working with Kaiora and Francis Tipene on Life as a Casketeer at the start of 2020 was an absolute joy. As it was with Tom Sainsbury, and his side-splitting book about typical New Zealanders. Our December title on the rise of organised crime in New Zealand, Gangland, definitely fits the tag ‘thrilling’! But if I have to pick one, it’s hard to go past the inspirational Stan Walker and his book Impossible. When I first had the opportunity to meet him, I could see there was something really special about Stan. His book did not disappoint. It’s an inspirational, compelling, and important read.

As for the competition! It’s been a really strong year for all publishers, but I’m most envious I think of Tom Scott’s book Searching for Charlie. Tom is such a talent, and big ups to Upstart for treating booksellers with phenomenal sales leading into Christmas.  

Julia Marshall, Publisher, Gecko Press

Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King was the result of three year’s work, and it is worth every second of wait.

Since its release, I have had librarians tell me it is ‘always out’. Last week Jonathan received a letter from a mother who says her autistic daughter just can’t get enough of it. “As an individual who has struggled with reading, she really sunk into your book.”

At Gecko Press we never know that a book is truly good till it is in the hands of the readers, so this feedback is the best end of year present for us!

A book I would like to have published:

There are many! What a year for good books. In order to encourage a sale, the book I hope I may be given in my stocking is:
We Are Here An atlas of Aotearoa by CHRIS MCDOWALL AND TIM DENEE. I love a lateral approach to information and knowledge, and this seems to me to be poetry, knowledge, critical thinking, philosophy, art, all in one.

Louise Russell, Publisher, Bateman Books

The book I was the most thrilled to have published this year is Addressed to Greta by Fiona Sussman. This funny, moving and uplifting read was just the tonic in a year deprived of international travel. It also marked the launch of Bateman’s fiction list, which we’re extremely excited about. The book I would most like to have published is Dead People I Have Known by Shayne Carter. The best kind of memoir, in my opinion, is well written and unflinching in its honesty – this book has all that in spades.

Kat Quin, Director, Illustrated Publishing

Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary is our most thrilling pukapuka to publish, of 2020.

We released her in February 2020, and even with the year that has been, it has been our best-seller, and most widely acclaimed title. We have also received incredible, positive feedback from readers. It was our most challenging to create, and rewarding pukapuka to date!



Alison Shucksmith, Product and Publishing Manager, Hachette NZ

The book I was most thrilled to publish in 2020 was the new edition of Margaret Mahy’s The Boy with Two Shadows with gorgeous illustrations by Sarah Greig, the winner of the inaugural Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize. This edition combines Mahy’s iconic text with timeless beautiful illustrations to create a perfect gift for adults and children alike.

The book I would have loved to publish is Kat Merewether’s Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary. It is a beautiful piece of publishing that effortlessly combines fun and energy with the sharing of knowledge; it is the highly successful mix of a book which will be used every day yet is special and so beautiful to also be the perfect gift.

Robbie Burton, Publisher, Potton & Burton

No one is going to persuade me to risk insulting my authors by choosing one favourite book from our list this year. But I can single out one title that was particularly rewarding to publish, largely because of personal association. This was Tamatea Dusky: The Remarkable Story of Fiordland’s Dusky Sound. Beautifully written by Peta Carey, it was very easy to become completely absorbed in its publication, as some years ago I spent an extremely memorable week down there living on a yacht, as part of a small eco-tour. The mix of landscape, human and natural history was intoxicating, and I relished reliving this trip through this illuminating book. With Covid forcing my hand, I also finally learnt the basics of InDesign during and after lockdown, and Tamatea Dusky is the first book I have ever laid out. I relished the process, a silver lining to this mad, turbulent year.

A book I would have really liked to publish in 2020 is VUP’s In the Time of the Manaroans, by Miro Bilbrough. The work immerses the reader in her complicated, messy time as a teenager living in a variety of counter-culture communities at the Top of the South in the late 70s and 1980s. Both funny and at times, heart-breaking – too often the supposed freedom of the hippy life felt periously close to neglect  – I found it an astounding, dazzling piece of writing. It’s a book I would have been proud to shepherd out into the world.

Fergus Barrowman, Publisher, Victoria University Press

I’m proudest of the four astonishing first books we published at the beginning of the year: Eamonn Marra’s novel in stories, 2000ft Above Worry Level, Madison Hamill’s memoir in essays, Specimen, and Freya Daly Sadgrove’s Head Girl and Oscar Upperton’s New Transgender Blockbusters, both poetry. Four very different books that share vibrancy and self-possession. It was such a bright moment and it seems so long ago!

The book I wish I’d published is Vincent O’Sullivan’s The Dark Is Light Enough, a biographical portrait of Ralph Hotere. When I proposed publishing this without paintings a few years ago, Vincent thought it wouldn’t work, and I’m pleased he changed his mind because it really does. What moved me most is the richness of Vincent’s account of Hotere’s family and childhood up north, and his careful tracing of how important they remained throughout the years down south.

Sally Greer and the Beatnik Publishing Team

Hare & Ruru is our favourite book of the year at Beatnik Publishing. Laura Shallcrass is an exceptional artist, but as well as being visually beautiful, her book is a gentle story that will help anyone who suffers from anxiety. In the story, Hare struggles with an un-named mental malady self-described as ‘noise’. Hare goes on a journey to try and find a solution. Just when Hare thinks there’s no hope, a friend, Ruru, flies calmly down and gives a suggestion, and Hare learns some valuable lessons about the value of talking to someone, focusing on breathing and connecting with nature. We have also published a Te Reo edition.

The book I wish I’d published is Hiakai by Monique Fiso, which is a breathtaking account of Māori food.


Odessa Owens, Senior Tutor, Whitiriea

Specimen by Madison Hamill (published by VUP in March) – Maddy is a graduate of our course, as well as IIML and this collection of personal essays is insanely well written and genuinely original.

A Vase and a Vast Sea (published by Escalator Press in October, produced by our publishing students) – a gorgeous collection of new and established writers, all of whom have a connection to Whitiriea through the now disestablished Creative Writing Programme

 Marie Hodgkinson, Tutor, Whitireia

I’d like to nominate No Man’s Land by AJ Fitzwater as my most thrilled to publish – a queer love story that combines NZ’s forgotten wartime and queer histories with magic and the gorgeous landscapes of Central Otago.





Beau Davidson, DHD Publishing

Our favourite thus far published in October 2020 is Grandma Lost her Corgis and the one we wanted to publish but have to wait until next year is Hatty and Tatty.

Theo Gibson, CEO, Audiobooks NZ

I think one of the favourite audiobooks we have made so far this year is classic A Good Keen Man by Barry Crump Narrated by his son Martin Crump.

Renee Hollis, Exisle Publishng

Exisle Publishing are thrilled to have published…

The Reality Slap: How to survive and thrive when life hits hard by Dr Russ Harris and Guiding Lights: The lives and legacies of lighthouse women by Shona Riddell

Exisle Publishing wishes that we had published: A Promised Land by Barack Obama 




Kiwi readers spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful books

By Media Releases, News

COVID-19 disruption has forced many aspects of life online, but when it comes to books the appeal of a beautifully designed, tangible object has not waned.  Luckily, New Zealanders are spoilt for choice with a stunning line up of finalists just announced for the 2020 PANZ Book Design Awards.

A recent report from the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) found physical books make up 93% of the domestic market. So the Association was not surprised by the record number of entries for this year’s awards, with the high quality of titles submitted speaking to both a buoyant domestic market and commitment to local storytelling.

“It’s a clear sign that the New Zealand public continues to value beautiful, world-class books. Adding to the buzz, is the number of submissions to the Emerging Designer category, confirming there is plenty of fresh talent to invigorate the industry in the future,” says Mel Winder, PANZ Councillor for Awards.

In mid-July, four judges with interests spanning book design to bookselling spent a day together in Auckland pouring over the 2020 entries.

“It’s such a pleasure spending a whole day holding, smelling, touching and looking at books and enjoying every fine detail — from typography to endpapers,” says convening judge Anna Brown.

“The discussion was robust, but you would be surprised how easy it was to agree on a shortlist despite our different interests and ‘design’ particularities.”

The judges particularly enjoyed exploring a new category introduced for this year’s awards. The Allen & Unwin Award for Best Commercial Book for Adults is designed to acknowledge the innovative work being done in this area of the market and extend the discussion around book design.

Across all categories, the judges were thrilled at the diversity of design and array of sizes, formats and bindings chosen to enhance the content.  Now they face the hard task of narrowing down the winners and selecting the Gerard Reid Award for Best Book sponsored by Nielsen Book, which will be announced at a special ceremony on Thursday 22 October.

The industry’s design talent will assemble the next day for the PANZ Book Design Workshop which provides the opportunity to dissect the awards, enjoy panel sessions led by leading book designers and network with peers.

The PANZ Book Design Awards were established by the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) to promote excellence in, and provide recognition for, the best book design in New Zealand.

The 2020 PANZ Book Design Awards Finalists are:


Crafting Aotearoa edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Damian Skinner (Te Papa Press), Alan Deare, Area Design

Eileen Mayo: Nature, Art and Poetry by Peter Vangioni and Jillian Cassidy (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū), Peter Bray, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

One Year Drawn by Pete Bossley (Point Publishing Limited), Alan Deare, Area Design

Promises Promises: 80 years of wooing New Zealand voters by Claire Robinson (Massey University Press), Cover: Xoë Hall. Interior: Gideon Keith and Carly Johnson, Seven

Protest Tautohetohe by Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams and Puawai Cairns (Te Papa Press), Gideon Keith, Seven

We Are Here: An atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall and Tim Denee (Massey University Press), Tim Denee



Finding Frances Hodgkins by Mary Kisler (Massey University Press), Kate Barraclough and Megan van Staden

Hell Fire Poetry Anthology 2017–18 edited by Andy Coyle (White Wolf Black Rabbit in association with Ilam Press), Aaron Beehre

Somewhere – Women’s Stories of Migration edited by Lorna Jane Harvey (Beatnik), Sally Greer, Beatnik

The Spinoff Book edited by Toby Manhire, illustrations by Toby Morris (Penguin Random House NZ), Cover: Toby Morris. Interior: Katrina Duncan and Simon Chesterman



The Book of Knowing by Gwendoline Smith (Allen & Unwin New Zealand), Megan van Staden

The Brilliance of Birds by Skye Wishart and Edin Whitehead (Penguin Random House NZ), Cat Taylor and Rachel Clark

Garage Project: The Art of Beer by Garage Project (Penguin Random House NZ), Cover: Tim Gibson. Interior: Tim Gibson and Katrina Duncan

Little Books of Art (series 2) edited by Sarah Pepperle (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū), Aaron Beehre

The New Zealand Wars / Nga Pakanga o Aotearoa by Vincent O’Malley (Bridget Williams Books), Cover: Neil Pardington. Interior: Neil Pardington and Tina Delceg Neil Pardington Design



The Gobbledegook Book by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press), Vida Kelly, Vida and Luke Kelly Design

Māui’s Taonga Tales edited by David Brechin-Smith (Te Papa Press), Jodi Wicksteed, Bolster Design

Mophead written and illustrated by Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press), Vida Kelly, Vida and Luke Kelly Design

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi by Ross Calman, Mark Derby, and Toby Morris (Lift Education), Simon Waterfield and Toby Morris

What Can I Do When I Grow Up? by Alain de Botton (The School of Life Press), Cover: Studio Katie Kerr and Tyla Mason. Interior: Studio Katie Kerr

Wildlife of Aotearoa written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop, Vida and Luke Kelly



New Zealand Nature Heroes by Gillian Candler (Potton & Burton), Floor van Lierop, This is Them

Ngāti Manawa Taniwha Stories, Big Books for Shared Reading by Lianne Bird (Huia Publishers, Pem Bird and Lianne Bird), Christine Ling, Huia Publishers

Te Kura i Monoa (Māori edition) | The Treasured Plume (English edition) by Brian Morris (Huia Publishers), Scott and Leonie Pearson, Visual Evolution

Toitoi: A Journal for Young Writers and Artists, Issues 16-19 and the Latin America and Southeast Asia Special Issues, with Teacher Support Materials edited by Charlotte Gibbs (Toitoi Media), Kelvin Soh and Sam Wieck of DDMMYY with Grace McFarlane and Vicki Birks, Toitoi Media Ltd



Dragonflies and Damselflies of New Zealand by Milen Marinov and Mike Ashbee (Auckland University Press), Cover: Carolyn Lewis. Interior: Carolyn Lewis and Katrina Duncan

Exploring Society: Sociology for New Zealand Students, 4th Edition edited by Ruth McManus, Steve Matthewman, Chris Brickell, Gregor McLennan and Paul Spoonley (Auckland University Press), Cover: Kalee Jackson. Interior: Katrina Duncan

Hindsight: Pivotal Moments in New Zealand’s History by Mandy Hager (OneTree House), Vasanti Unka



The Camping Cookbook by Sara Mutande and Andrea Lo Vetere (Beatnik Publishing), Andrea Lo Vetere and Sara Mutande

Pass It On by Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan (self-published by Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan), Jesssica Read in collaboration with Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan

The recipe by Josh Emett (Upstart Press in association with Blackwell & Ruth), Cameron Gibb, Blackwell & Ruth

Two Raw Sisters Changing Perceptions of Plant Based Food by Rosa and Margo Flanagan (Bateman Books), Cheryl Smith, Macarn Design



Bullseye Bella by James T. Guthrie (Scholastic New Zealand), Leon Mackie

Hell Fire Poetry Anthology 2017–18 edited by Andy Coyle (White Wolf Black Rabbit in association with Ilam Press), Aaron Beehre

Louise Henderson: From Life edited by Felicity Milburn, Lara Strongman and Julia Waite with Christina Barton, Maria Lluïsa Faxedas, CK Stead and Linda Tyler (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū/ Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki), Aaron Beehre

Mophead written and illustrated by Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press), Vida Kelly, Vida and Luke Kelly Design

Pass It On by Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan (self-published by Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan), Jesssica Read in collaboration with Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan



Crafting Aotearoa edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Damian Skinner (Te Papa Press), Alan Deare, Area Design

Eileen Mayo: Nature, Art and Poetry by Peter Vangioni and Jillian Cassidy (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū), Peter Bray, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Hell Fire Poetry Anthology 2017–18 edited by Andy Coyle (White Wolf Black Rabbit in association with Ilam Press), Aaron Beehre

One Year Drawn by Pete Bossley (Point Publishing Limited), Alan Deare, Area Design

Protest Tautohetohe by Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams and Puawai Cairns (Te Papa Press), Gideon Keith, Seven

We Are Here: An atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall and Tim Denee (Massey University Press), Tim Denee



Christine Ling

  • Santa’s Worst Christmas / Te Kirihimete i te Whakakorea by Pania Tahau-Hodge and Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)
  • Te Rua o te Taniwha by Brian Morris (Huia Publishers)
  • Awatea and the Kawa Gang by Fraser Smith (Huia Publishes)
  • Ngā Kōrero Taniwha o Ngāti Manawa | Big Books for Shared Reading by Lianne Bird (Huia Publishers)


Jessica Read

  • Pass It On by Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan (self-published by Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan)


For more info and book images please visit:

High-res images are available here

Gemma Finlay on behalf of PANZ,


Associate Professor Anna Brown is a tertiary design educator and researcher, who works with visual artists, curators, art historians and musicians investigating through form, materials and typography how the vehicle of the book can animate and amplify the content it contains. Her international research profile in book design includes a commission for New Zealand’s official Venice Biennale project in 2013. Anna is an Associate Professor in the College of Creative Arts where she is Director Toi Āria — Design for Public Good. For many years she ran her own design business with a specialisation in book design.

Aaron McKirdy is Design Director at Chrometoaster, a multidisciplinary design studio based in Wellington. He has over 20 years experience designing some of New Zealand’s most recognised brands. It was his love of typography and books, though, that saw him work alongside some of the UK’s leading authors such as Lauren Child, Neal Layton and Cressida Cowell at Hodder Children’s Books. Aaron received The Purple Pin for Public Good and collected Australia’s Good Design Award supreme prize “Design of the Year” — the only time this has been awarded outside Australia — for the educational game, Game of Awesome.

Writer and reviewer Kiran Dass is the buyer for Time Out Bookstore in Auckland and reviews books regularly on RNZ and 95bFM. Her writing has appeared in NZ Listener, NZ Herald, The Spinoff, Pantograph Punch, Sunday magazine, Sunday Star-Times, Landfall and The Wire (UK). Dass has chaired sessions at the Auckland Writers Festival, Verb Wellington and WORD Christchurch. She co-hosts the books podcast Papercuts.

Nick Turzynski studied English Literature and Language at Aberdeen University before working in London as a journalist and in advertising, branding, packaging and magazine design. He moved to New Zealand with his family in 1995 where he worked initially at Cuisine magazine, and then as Art Director at Hodder Moa Beckett, when publishing upwards of 60 titles a year was not unusual. In 2003 he started his own company, redinc. Book Design, and enjoys working with a huge variety of authors and publishers. In 2008 he returned to writing with the publication of his first book, How to Eat a Huhu Grub, illustrated by his son Conrad.

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