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Publisher’s Picks 2022

By News

Thank you to all of you who have managed to select a special title from your 2022 lists — we know it is a tough ask to pick just one or two.  Below you will find many amazing and varied books demonstrating the health and breadth of publishing in Aotearoa. I for one have found that my Christmas gift list and summer reading pile has just got a lot longer…

And congratulations go to Allen & Unwin for once again being the publisher who inspired the most envy amongst their peers — impeccable timing capturing the mood of the nation as it got behind the Black Ferns at the Rugby World Cup with the excellent Straight Up by Ruby Tui. 


Holly Hunter Commissioning Editor, HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand

I can’t look past Blue Blood by Andrea Vance, which became my first ever #1 bestseller. Piecing together the inside story of the National Party’s chaotic and embarrassing recent years in opposition, this book made me gasp and cackle. To echo John Key, ‘at the end of the day’ it’s just a bloody good read.

It’s also been a privilege to publish Naomi Toilalo’s debut baking book, WhānauKai. With luscious recipes in te reo Māori and in English, and mouthwatering photography throughout, this book is packed with sweet treats to whip up for friends and whānau this summer. The best thing about publishing a cookbook is seeing people on Instagram make the recipes at home.

I’m looking on in awe and a touch of envy at Straight Up by Ruby Tui (A&U). It’s amazing to see the book reach beyond typical nonfiction buyers in the wake of the Ferns’ RWC win – to see kids at the game waving their signed copies to the camera. Great story, great packaging, great timing.


Nicola Legat, Publishers Massey University Press and Te Papa Press

Massey University Press pick

Sylvia and the Birds by Johanna Emeney and Sarah Laing.

MUP doesn’t publish many children’s books so when we do they have to be pretty special, as this one is. Important, engaging, amusing and information-packed, we think it’s a bit of a triumph by Jo and Sarah.

Te Papa Press pick:

Robin White Something Is Happening Here, edited by Sarah Farrar, Nina Tonga and Jill Trevelyan

It was a privilege to work with the Auckland Art Gallery to co publish this survey of the career and work of the remarkable Dame Robin White and to then see visitors to the major exhibitions at Te Papa and AAG respond so warmly to her work. Sarah, Nina and Jill brought together a crack team of guest writers and was a pleasure to work with them all.

From other publishers:

Straight Up by Ruby Tui.  A&U strikes again and correctly picks the zeitgeist. Who wouldn’t want all that turnover?


Deborah Coddington, Ugly Hill Press

My book of the year is The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey. It was so original and clever. I admire the imagination of a writer who can think of using a magpie as the narrator. The story was dark, yes, but also very funny. And the husband was not a total monster which would have been too easy, and too lazy. And what a piece of work the sister was. OMG. I also learned a lot about magpies. Great cover too, excellent cover.

When I finished the book I gave it to my (conservative) husband and at first he thought, “what have you gotten me into, woman?” but he loved it too. Thought it was an excellent, accomplished, and very smart novel.

I am from Hawke’s Bay so I could be biased toward magpies.


The Otago University Press team

In terms of OUP’s Publishing Picks for 2022, we’re extremely proud of all our publications and would love to pick each one for various reasons. But to select two, we’d love to highlight Notes on Womanhood by Sarah Jane Barnett and Fossil Treasures of Foulden Maar: A window into Miocene Zealandia by Daphne Lee, Uwe Kaulfuss and John Conran. We’ve picked Notes on Womanhood as it’s such a beautifully-written and powerful memoir / coming-of-middle-age story, where Sarah starts an open conversation about what the concept of womanhood means to her. It’s also the first book in our new KA HAEA TE ATA series (KA HAEA TE ATA: books that cast light on issues of importance in Aotearoa today). We pick Fossil Treasures of Foulden Maar because of it’s amazing local, national and international significance and because of its beautiful illustrations. This book is a fantastic tribute to years of focused research at the Foulden Maar paleontological site and tells an amazing story of discovery and preservation. I’ve attached the cover image files for both if you’d like to use.

A book we admired from another publisher is By the Green of the Spring by Paddy Richardson, published by Quentin Wilson Publishing. We love how immersive the writing is and how it makes you feel like you’re really there while reading it. A gripping read!


Craig Gamble, Publishing Manager Te Herenga Waka University Press 

We loved publishing all our diverse, original and popular books this year but it was really satisfying seeing Gaylene Preston’s wonderful memoir Gaylene’s Take receive such a warm response, a welcome that was echoed for John Martin’s huge ang comprehensive history of early Wellington – Empire City. The book we would have most liked to publish was definitely Grand – Becoming My Mother’s Daughter by Noelle McCarthy. We look forward to welcoming Noelle to Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington next year as the IIML writer in residence. 


Peter Dowling, Publisher, Oratia Books 

Among the Oratia offspring this year, one that really deserves recognition is Richard Wolfe’s Footprints on the Land: How Humans Changed New Zealand. As we increasingly experience the impacts of climate change and environmental depredation, it’s instructive to explore what got us to this point. Richard does this in a brilliant summary that’s enlivened by his curatorial selection of artwork. 

If we published fiction and had been free to sign up Monty Soutar, I’d have loved to publish his novel Kāwai. How good to see a Māori historical novel, one actually written by an historian, head to the top of the bestseller lists. Bateman has put together a fine editorial and marketing combo to back Monty’s work.


Claire Murdoch, Head of Publishing, Penguin Random House NZ

There was a LOT to be admiring of in 2023 from all NZ publishers and, for the sake of readers (if not our gnashing teeth), long may that be the case!

Top of my team’s green-eyed little list are Ruby Tui: Straight Up from A&U, Rooms by Jane Ussher from MUP and Kāwai by Monty Soutar from Bateman.

We’re impressed with Ariana Tikao’s Mokoruangā kōrero mō tōku moko kauae – my story of moko kauae which is a multi-layered poem of a book, published by AUP. Ka rawe!

And from our own stable? Anyone (left) who hasn’t yet read Hinemoa ‘Aroha’ Elder’s next-level wonder Wawata, Noelle McCarthy’s Grand, Jenny Pattrick’s Harbouring or Coco Solid’s How to Loiter in a Turf War will not be disappointed — and none could regret bathing in Juliet Nicholas and Rosemary Barraclough’s New Zealand Gardens to Visit.

For the kids, we think every book the team at Huia puts out is beyond amazing and [heart emoji] Potton and Burton’s books by Ned Barraud. Among Puffins, there are three little words for one big book we love.: Roar, Squeak, Purr – Paula Green’s epic anthology of animal poems adorably illustrated by Jenny Cooper. Little Tales of Hedgehog and Goat is gentle, poetic and characterful, with each chapter a perfect bite of story to read at bedtime – and Have You Seen Tomorrow just makes you smile. Kyle’s spare, careful writing at its best, complemented by Laura Bee’s delicately delightful illustrations.

Happy holidays. 


Louise Russell, Publisher, Bateman Books 

We’ve been absolutely delighted at the response to Monty Soutar’s debut novel, the first in a trilogy: Kāwai – For such a time as this. Number one on the NZ fiction bestseller list for 12 weeks straight and counting, its success indicates a clear appetite for Māori stories written by Māori writers.

Speaking of Māori writers, though a completely different genre this time, we’re also pretty chuffed with Christall Lowe’s exquisite and unintimidating cookbook, and homage to whanau and the power of food memories, Kai. In terms of other publishers’ successes, that’s a tough one as the standard of local publishing this year has been so high across the board, but like many of the other publishers no doubt, I’d probably have to go with the phenomenal Ruby Tui’s memoir Straight Up. Well done, A&U. 


Jenny Hellen, Publishing Director, Allen & Unwin

The biggest highlight of my year has to be publishing Ruby Tui’s memoir Straight Up. As everyone now knows, Ruby is an absolutely extraordinary person – on and off the rugby field – and the response to her book has also been nothing short of extraordinary. I’ve never seen anything like it before. People have taken her story and her messages to heart and the book inspires people of all kinds. The book has sold out numerous times since the Black Ferns won the Rugby World Cup and we have been reprinting constantly in New Zealand to try and keep up with demand. It’s exceptional. I’m so delighted for Ruby and for the fact that the memoir of a woman sports star can sell so strongly here. It feels like just the beginning of a new way for books to be in this country.

A book I very much admire from another publisher is Empire City by John Martin, published by THWUP. It’s a non-fiction account of Wellington from early contact between Māori and Pākehā in 1839 until the 1870s. I’m obsessed by prehistory and also NZ’s early history so this is a must-read for me.

Michelle Hurley, Publisher, Allen & Unwin NZ 

The book that tugged on my heartstrings this year is I Am Autistic, by a fantastic young writer and illustrator, Chanelle Moriah. The book has sold incredibly well, including selling U.S. rights to it. I also had a great time publishing Chris Finlayson’s memoir, Yes, Minister. He’s a very funny man.

The book I wish I had published is The Axeman’s Carnival by Catherine Chidgey. Honestly, who wouldn’t? But also for the lolz of @tamamagpie’s Twitter account throwing shade on just about everyone in publishing.


Mel Winder, Managing Director, Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand

Hard to narrow it down to just two highlights from 2022; Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez is the story of a feisty whip smart young Puerto Rican woman and her emotionally and politically complicated family and was a revelation from start to finish. I love everything Maggie O’Farrell writes, and The Marriage Portrait was no exception; she is absolutely at the top of her game and this beautifully written page turning novel about Lucrezia de Medici is on all the 2022 Must Read lists with good reason.

I inhale books about clothes and fashion and have spent many happy hours dipping in and out of Dressed by Claire Regnault (Te Papa Press) – a gorgeous looking book with vivid descriptions that bring the clothes and their wearers alive.


Dahlia Malaeulu Author / Publisher / Director Mila’s Books

The top picks for 2022 from Mila’s Books are:

A New Dawn by Emeli Sione (Mila’s Books) and The Greatest Kapa Haka Festival on Earth by Pania Tahau-Hodges (Huia).

Author Pania Tahau-Hodges is pictured here with both Mila’s Books’ top picks for 2022

A New Dawn by Emeli Sione (Mila’s Books).  Pictured here along with Polynesian Panthers members Tigilau Ness and Alec Toleafoa.


Quentin Wilson, Publisher, Quentin Wilson Publishing

Favourite titles from QWP:

A Runner’s Guide to Rakiura: A Novel by Jessica Howland Kany

The Lovelock Version meets Moby Dick meets Treasure Island
Playful, funny and romantic, this delightful debut novel is braided with stories of love and war, treasure maps, bobbing buoys, floating libraries, island lore, and the joys of running. “A festival of plot, story and wonderful writing… A worthy successor to Maurice Shadbolt” – Prof Patrick Evans, author of The Penguin History of New Zealand Literature

The Crate: A Ghost Story by James Norcliffe

A riveting supernatural tale with a bittersweet ending as unexpected as it is satisfying. “The Crate will be an outstanding addition to the literature for children in Aotearoa.” – Gavin Bishop

A Month at the Back of My Brain: A third memoir by Kevin Ireland

This unpredictable experiment allows the ordinary and everyday to take a rightful place among the souvenirs of Ireland’s life. It’s all here: childhood shoplifting challenges and trips to the murder house, ruminations on reputable poets and disreputable poseurs, encounters with many a picturesque character, madcap adventures in London, stories behind several of Kevin’s poems, a tall tale or two about fishing, and much more…

From another publisher:

Bushline: A Memoir by Robbie Burton

I am really enjoying Robbie’s memoir. Highly recommended…

Announcing the winners of the 2022 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement

By News

Pictured from left: James Norcliffe, Stephanie Johnson, Vincent O’Malley

Spanning an impressive range of genres, the work of the three recipients of the 2022 Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement represents some of the very best in New Zealand literature.

Fiction writer Stephanie Johnson, poet James Norcliffe, and historian Vincent O’Malley have been named as the winners of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement for 2022.

Each writer will each receive $60,000 in recognition of their significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the areas of fiction, poetry and non-fiction.

Prime Minister Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern said, “Every year I’m delighted to have the opportunity to honour the incredible contribution of three of our most talented writers. Congratulations to Stephanie Johnson, James Norcliffe and Vincent O’Malley. The awards recognise not only their literary achievements, but also the significant impact their work has had on the cultural landscape of Aotearoa.”

Arts Council Chair Caren Rangi said, “Warmest congratulations to Stephanie, James and Vincent. Your work across all genres has been vital in helping readers to see themselves, to advance important cultural discussions, and to bring moments of joy, humour and beauty.”

The three winners will be honoured at a special lunch hosted by the Prime Minister in March 2023.

Members of the public will also get the chance to enjoy readings and discussions from the winners in a separate online event in February. More details to come.

About the Awards

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement were established in 2003. Every year New Zealanders are invited to nominate their choice of a New Zealand writer who has made a significant contribution to New Zealand literature in the genres of non-fiction, poetry and fiction. Writers are also able to nominate themselves for these awards.

Nominations are assessed by an external expert panel and recommendations are forwarded to the Arts Council of New Zealand for approval. This year’s selection panel included Gavin Bishop, Gina Cole and Siobhan Harvey.

A full list of previous recipients can be found on the Creative New Zealand website.

Author’s biographies

Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Fiction
Stephanie Johnson (Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland)

Stephanie Johnson is a writer of novels, short stories, and poetry and she has also written for stage, television and radio.

Her many novels include The Shag Incident, which won the Montana Deutz Medal for Fiction in 2003; The Whistler, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Montana Book Award for Fiction; and Belief, shortlisted for the 2001 Montana Book Awards.

In 2000 she was awarded the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in Menton, France, and in 2001 was made a Literary Fellow at Auckland University.

Several of her novels have been longlisted for the prestigious IMPAC Awards in Dublin. She was a recipient of the Bruce Mason Memorial Playwright’s Award in 1985, and her novel, Crimes of Neglect, was shortlisted for the Wattie Book Awards in 1993.

With Peter Wells, Stephanie founded the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival in 1998. She has been guest speaker at numerous festivals, both in New Zealand and internationally, has taught a broad range of writing classes and is involved in ongoing mentorship and manuscript assessments. Stephanie was the 2016 recipient of both the Randell Cottage Writer in Residence in Wellington, and Alumna Merita Award, Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland.

In 2019 Stephanie was appointed as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature.

Her non-fiction includes Playing for Both Sides (BWB, 2016), a personal exploration of the Australia-New Zealand relationship; and West Island: Five Twentieth-century New Zealanders in Australia (OUP, 2019). Stephanie edited Good Dog! New Zealand Writers on Dogs (Penguin Random House, 2016), and her most recent work, the novel Everything Changes (RHNZ Vintage, 2021) won the 2021 New Zealand Society of Authors Heritage Prize for Fiction.


Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Poetry
James Norcliffe (Ōtautahi/Christchurch)

James Norcliffe is a poet, fiction writer and educator. He has published 11 collections of poetry, a short story collection, a novel, and several award-winning novels for young people.

James has had a long involvement with takahē poetry magazine including as editor and was president of the New Zealand Poetry Society from 2005-2007. He has had a decades-long association with the Christchurch School for Young Writers. He has also edited anthologies of poetry and writing by young people, notably (with Glyn Strange, Tessa Duder and currently Michelle Elvy) the long-running ReDraft annual anthologies.

He co-edited the major anthologies Essential New Zealand Poems – Facing the Empty Page (Godwit/Random, 2014), Leaving the Red Zone – Poems from the Canterbury Earthquakes (Clerestory Press, 2016), and Ko Aotearoa Tātou / We Are New Zealand (Otago University Press, 2020).

James has won a number of awards for both his poetry and prose. With Bernadette Hall, he was presented with a Press Literary Liaisons Honour Award for lasting contribution to literature in the South Island, New Zealand, and in 2012 he was awarded the Lincoln University Medal.

James has been awarded writing fellowships both in New Zealand and overseas including the Burns Fellowship, the International Writers’ Programme Iowa Residency, and residencies at Massey University, Otago University College of Education, and in Hobart. His work is published in journals worldwide and has been translated into several languages. In 2018 he was the Creative New Zealand Randell Cottage Writer in Residence.


Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement – Non-fiction
Vincent O’Malley (Te Whanganui-a-Tara/ Wellington)

Vincent O’Malley is a founding partner of HistoryWorks, a group of historians specialising in Treaty of Waitangi research. He is the author of a number of books on New Zealand history including The Meeting Place: Māori and Pākehā Encounters, 1642–1840 (Auckland University Press, 2012), which was shortlisted in the general non-fiction section at the New Zealand Post Book Awards in 2013, and Beyond the Imperial Frontier: The Contest for Colonial New Zealand (Bridget Williams Books, 2014).

Dr O’Malley’s landmark book on the Waikato War, The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000, was published to acclaim in 2016. Spanning nearly two centuries from first contact through to settlement and apology, this remarkable and best-selling history focuses on the human impact of the war in the Waikato, its origins and aftermath. It was followed in 2019 by The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa, that provides a highly accessible introduction to the causes, events and consequences of the New Zealand Wars.

At the 2022 Ockham NZ Book Awards, Dr O’Malley won the general non-fiction category for his book Voices from the New Zealand Wars / He Reo nō ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa (Bridget Williams Books). With Professor Joanna Kidman, he is co-Principal Investigator on the Marsden Fund project ‘He Taonga te Wareware? Remembering and Forgetting Difficult Histories in Aotearoa/New Zealand’, a three-year study into how the nineteenth century New Zealand Wars have helped shape memory, identity and history.

Photo credits: James Norcliffe (image supplied), Stephanie Johnson (image credit: Maeve Woodhouse), Vincent O’Malley (image credit: Hagen Hopkins Photography).

Meet the 2023 Creative New Zealand National Publishing Internships Initiative recipients

By News

Interns 2023 – Damien Levi (Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi), Ruby Leonard and Callum Knight (Te Hika o Pāpāuma)

PANZ is very pleased to announce the successful recipients of the 2023 Creative New Zealand National Publishing Internships Initiative (colloquially know as the Intern Programme).  In the new year Ruby Leonard will intern with Te Herenga Waka University Press, Callum Knight with HUIA while Damien Levi will take his place at Penguin Random House in Auckland.

The Intern Programme, administered by PANZ, provides paid internship opportunities each year for three new graduates of the Whitireia New Zealand publishing course to enter the industry and is highly coveted by both students and publishers alike.

Craig Gamble, Publishing Manager of Te Herenga Waka University Press was thrilled to be one of the successful publishers. “We at THWUP are delighted to have Ruby joining us as an intern in 2023. We value the energy and freshness that an intern brings to our workplace, just as much as we appreciate the extra capacity they give us. Ruby came to us for her work placement this year and impressed us with her obvious ability and hard work, we can’t wait to see what she will accomplish next year.”

The programme has produced some impressive results in past years with many publishers choosing to offer the interns full-time positions at the end of the programme, and a number of former interns now hold senior positions in publishing companies.

Odessa Owens, Senior Tutor, Publishing at Whitireia says “It’s hugely rewarding to see deserving students go into their dream jobs through these internships.”

Congratulations to all the successful students and publishers.

For more details on the Creative New Zealand National Publishing Internships Initiative click here.

Frankfurt Book Fair wraps

By News

L-R: Dame Wendy Pye, Jenny Oliver, Chris Shaw, Catriona Ferguson, Kevin Chapman, Peter Dowling & Alessandra Zecchini

Association Director Catriona Ferguson reports:

It was a joy for PANZ to be back at the Frankfurt Book Fair last week. For obvious reasons we haven’t been able to host a collective stand since 2019 but this year we made our presence felt with a vibrant, stunning stand which provided a beautiful backdrop for some very fine books from Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our small but perfectly formed team of publishers on the ground, (Kevin Chapman – Upstart Press, Peter Dowling and Alessandra Zecchini – Oratia, Julia Marshall – Gecko Press and Dame Wendy Pye and Jenny Oliver – Sunshine Books) have all reported positive meetings with promising things to come.

There was also a lot of interest in books and resources from publishers who had a virtual presence and had books and materials displayed on the stand (Beatnik, Biozone, Black Chook Books, EduMaxi, Essential Resources, Global Ed, HUIA, Koa Press, OneTree House) – New Zealand was definitely back with a bang this year.

We received a very warm welcome from the book fair team and were thrilled to be gifted a certificate and some delicious bubbles and chocolates to acknowledge 25 years of the PANZ collective stand at Frankfurt. We’d also like to give a shout out to our trailblazing colleague, Dame Wendy Pye who led the way and has been attending Frankfurt with Sunshine Books for 40 years.

It was also a delight to reconnect with old friends – particularly Joy Reifgens and Christiane and Ann-Sophie Geipert-Arheilger our amazing stand helpers, and to make some new friends including Head of Mission at the NZ Embassy in Germany, Craig Hawke and Marina Wilmerstadt from Education NZ who both came along to our stand party. And on the party, thanks go to the NZ Embassy team for their support in providing some much enjoyed NZ wine and special thanks to Cornelia Loser who helped to ensure that it reached the stand at just the right time.

And now it’s onto the work of following up on all of those meetings and dropped off business cards which will undoubtedly keep our participating publishers busy for some time.

As ever we’d like to acknowledge our supporters, Creative New Zealand, Education New Zealand, Book Systems International and Multi Freight Ltd.


A book about bees takes out Aotearoa’s top publishing design award

By News

A book referred to as a “cabinet of wonder” has been judged the most beautiful in Aotearoa at the 2022 PANZ Book Design Awards ceremony held in Auckland this evening.

Conversātiō – In the company of bees, by Anne Noble with Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown, was described by the judges as a “ravishing blend of science, art, and book design in a volume devoted to the honeybee”.

As well as receiving the supreme award, the Gerard Reid Award for Best Book sponsored by Nielsen BookData, it was also awarded the Penguin Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book.

The book’s cover was designed by Anna Brown of Massey University’s College of Creative Arts and Matt Law.  Anna also designed the interior.

Normally a designer becomes involved towards the end of a project, but uniquely with this book Anna Brown was part of the team from the outset, contributing to its conceptual development and credited as a co-author on the book’s cover. This deep involvement did not go unnoticed by the judges, and they lauded the title’s “confident playfulness, made possible by the designer’s understanding of the book’s theme and content”.

“The reference to old style bookbinding shown in the bindery style expresses such a wonderful and collaborative love of bookmaking in its widest sense, by all involved – publisher, authors, and designer,” continued the judging comments. “A special book.”

Turning to the other categories, it was the extra design touches, font choices and beautiful photography that saw Homecooked: Seasonal recipes for every day by Lucy Corry, designed by Cat Taylor with original cover art by Evie Kemp, take out the coveted 1010 Printing Award for Best Cookbook.

The Allen & Unwin Award for Best Commercial Book for Adults was awarded to Ockham New Zealand Book Award winner Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka, designed by Te Kani Price and Camilla Lau. Te Kani was also named 2022 Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand Emerging Designer, with the judges praising his creative vision and experimental work.

The Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book went to multi-talented publishing novice Emily Joe, who was the designer, author and illustrator of My Cat Can See Ghosts.

On the education front, the Lift Education Award for Best Education Book or Series — Primary was awarded to Inside New Zealand Wildlife by Dave Gunson, designed by Dave Gunson and Alice Bell.

Finally, the night’s attendees clearly agreed with the judges and Conversātiō – In the company of bees, also won the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand People’s Choice Award, which is decided during the ceremony by attendee vote.

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 2022 PANZ Book Design Awards winners are:

Gerard Reid Award for Best Book sponsored by Nielsen BookData

  • Conversātiō — In the company of bees by Anne Noble with Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown (Massey University Press). Cover designed by Anna Brown & Matt Law.  Interior designed by Anna Brown

 Penguin Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book

  • Conversātiō — In the company of bees by Anne Noble with Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown (Massey University Press). Cover designed by Anna Brown & Matt Law.  Interior designed by Anna Brown

Upstart Press Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book

  • A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Paula Morris and Alison Wong (Auckland University Press). Cover designed by Keely O’Shannessy. Interior designed by Keely O’Shannessy with typesetting by Tina Delceg

 Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book

  • My Cat Can See Ghosts by Emily Joe (Beatnik). Designed by Emily Joe

Lift Education Award for Best Education Book or Series — Primary

  • Inside New Zealand Wildlife by Dave Gunson (Bateman Books). Cover design by Dave Gunson & Alice Bell. Interior designed by Alice Bell

Lift Education Award for Best Education Book or Series — Secondary/Tertiary

  • No winner but special commendation to Social Policy Practice and Processes in Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Graham Hassall and Girol Karacaoglu (Massey University Press). Cover designed by Tim Denee. Interior designed by Megan van Staden

1010 Printing Award for Best Cookbook

  • Homecooked: Seasonal recipes for every day by Lucy Corry (Penguin Random House NZ).
    Cover designed by Cat Taylor with original cover art by Evie Kemp. Interior designed by Cat Taylor

Allen & Unwin Award for Best Commercial Book for Adults

  • Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (HUIA Publishers). Designed by Te Kani Price and Camilla Lau

 HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Cover

  • Rangikura by Tayi Tibble (Te Herenga Waka University Press). Designed by Xoë Hall

Te Herenga Waka University Press Award for Best Typography

  • He Ringatoi O Ngā Tūpuna by Hilary and John Mitchell (Potton & Burton). Designed by Floor van Lierop, This is Them

 2022 Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand Emerging Designer

  • Te Kani Price (HUIA Publishers)

Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand People’s Choice Award

  • Conversātiō — In the company of bees by Anne Noble with Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown (Massey University Press). Cover designed by Anna Brown & Matt Law.  Interior designed by Anna Brown



By News

The Publishers Association of NZ / Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ) launched the Book Industry Market Size Report 2021 at their conference this week. The report highlights key findings from survey results and looks at the shape of Aotearoa New Zealand Publishing.

The good news is that the book market remains buoyant — Trade publishing has grown 6.7% on the pre-pandemic level — and Te Reo Māori publishing is on the rise with over 40% growth in sales year on year from 2019.

The rest of the book market has remained constant with similar data emerging from last year. The market grew 3% in 2020 and held steady across 2021 with a further 0.7% growth and New Zealand educational content sold domestically grew by 6% reflecting the increased importance of New Zealand curriculum content to educators across the second year of the pandemic.

Book lovers will be delighted to hear that physical books show no signs of disappearing anytime soon. Over 90% of New Zealand’s book market value is in print formats, and both digital and print formats have seen nearly 10% growth on 2019’s values.

‘The New Zealand publishing industry once again proved to be resilient in the face of the many pandemic-related challenges,’ says Nevena Nikolic, Territory Manager, Nielsen BookData New Zealand. ‘On top of which were added, inflationary pressures, paper shortages, and further supply-chain issues. Many of these issues affected publishers globally so were not unique to New Zealand but were exacerbated by our geographic location and further distance from the main supply warehouses based in Australia.’

Post-pandemic PANZ has been focused on rebuilding export markets, which provide vital income for New Zealand authors and publishers alike. The export market saw a 1% growth in exported titles. Australia continues to be the dominant export market for the book trade, showing 10% value growth. In education exports, China just edged out the United States as the key export market holding 33% of all export revenue for the first time.

‘PANZ has a vision for a thriving, sustainable and inclusive publishing industry for local and global readers,’ says Graeme Cosslett, President, Publishers Association of New Zealand / Te Rau o Tākupu.

‘Whilst the global pandemic continues to present challenges, the New Zealand publishing industry has held steady when compared with 2020. This report is a testament to our vision at PANZ and the enduring appeal of books. It shows our industry remains resilient, sustainable, and in reasonably strong heart.’

– ENDS –


For more information please contact Rebecca Simpson at Fantail Communications

on or 021 955 942.


About PANZ

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.

Copyright Licensing New Zealand Cultural Fund

PANZ is indebted to Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ) and their Cultural Fund for enabling the development of this report.

About the report

The data in this report is taken from a Market Size Survey conducted by Nielsen BookData with PANZ members. Together with Nielson who use A survey tool which aggregates your sales data

By matching the same dataset each year we can calculate %change and apply this to the previous year.

It is based on a nationally representative sample of 25 publishers during this period, and makes comparisons to book publishing in the equivalent period in 2020 with a like-for-like comparison.


Key Takeaways:

Print vs digital: Print dominates with a 92.5% revenue share

Te Reo Māori titles: Unique opportunities and double-digit growth year on year

Trade: Pandemic drives growth in print & digital formats across all sectors

Educational: domestic content increased across the pandemic vs export opportunities decline

Export: Australia is the key market for Trade publishers with 50% of exports to Australia. China is the key market for Education, with 33% of Education exports to China.


Penguin Random House New Zealand wins Publisher of the Year

By News

Left-Right: Nicola Faisandier, Nevena Nikolic (Nielsen), Claire Murdoch and Becky Innes celebrate Penguin Random House New Zealand’s Nielsen BookData 2022 Publisher of the Year award. Photo: Rebecca McMillan

Penguin Random House New Zealand have won the prestigious Nielsen BookData Publisher of the Year Award at the Aotearoa Book Trade Industry Awards last night in Auckland.

Organised jointly by Booksellers Aotearoa NZ and the Publishers Association of NZ Te Rau o Tākapu, the ceremony was the first time the awards had been presented in person since 2019.

In her citation, awards judge Anne de Latour, said: “Applications in this category needed to display all round excellence so the judges looked at how each applicant viewed their own performance and how they are viewed externally.”

Penguin Random House New Zealand is the New Zealand home of many of the world’s best-known publishing brands and imprints, from international blockbusters like Lee Child and Diary of a Wimpy Kid to local superstars Hairy Maclary, Chelsea Winter and Witi Ihimaera.

As Anne de Latour put it in her citation:

“Aspects we considered included the success and impact of the publishing lists in the trade, support for local writers, marketing and publicity campaigns to attract new readers, communication with booksellers, commitment to diversity and inclusion, team culture and new initiatives that are being implemented to assist with distribution and delivery and environmental issues.”

Director of Penguin Random House New Zealand, Becky Innes said: “I am thrilled for my colleagues to have received this award. It is a joy for them to be recognised for their hard work, passion and tenacity. We all love being part of the book ecosystem of Aotearoa, from authors to booksellers and readers.”

Other awards presented on the night were:

  • Emerging NZ Publisher of the Year: Michelle Hurley, Allen & Unwin
  • Emerging NZ Bookseller of the Year: Lisa Adler, Vic Books
  • NZ Bestseller Award (best-selling NZ published title between April 2021 and
    March 2022): Lost and Found: My story of heartbreak and hope, Toni Street (Allen &
  • International Bestseller Award (best-selling international title in NZ between
    April 2021 and March 2022): Better Off Dead: Jack Reacher 26, Lee Child and Andrew
    Child (Penguin Random House)
  • Marketing and Publicity Strategy of the Year: Courtney Smith and Abba Renshaw,
    Allen & Unwin, for Salad, Two Raw Sisters
  • Aotearoa Booksellers’ Choice Award: Greta and Valdin, Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga
    Waka University Press)
  • Sales Professional of the Year: Inna Carson, HarperCollins
  • Mana Māori Award: Kupu Ngā Ringa Tuhituhi Māori Writers Festival
  • Nielsen BookData NZ Bookshop of the Year: Unity Books (Welllington)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: David and Jenny Hedley (Hedley’s Books, Masterton)


Meryl Halls
Meryl has been Managing Director of the Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland since April 2018, having helped to drive all key BA initiatives of the last two decades. A Trustee of World Book Day, Board Member of the European & International Booksellers Federation, the British Retail Consortium, the Independent Retailers Confederation and of, she was awarded the FutureBook Person of the Year Award 2020 in recognition of the work done by the BA Group on behalf of booksellers during the COVID crisis.

Ben Brown
Ben Brown was born one week before the Rolling Stones played their first gig in 1962. Ruby Tuesday is one of his favourite songs and he may tell you why if you ask him. He’s an author, poet and performer. In 2021 he was appointed New Zealand’s inaugural Te Awhi Rito Reading Ambassador. He is also the father of two, which he considers his best work to date.

Jill Rawnsley
Jill Rawnsley has worked in the book industry In Aotearoa in various roles in publishing, festivals, at Creative New Zealand, as a judge in the fiction category for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and most recently as the inaugural Manager of the Coalition for Books and Kete.

Anne de Latour
Anne is the Executive Officer of Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust and was previously Director of the Publishers Association of NZ Te Rau o Tākupu. Anne has also worked in various roles in the publishing industry and has a huge amount of knowledge and experience in the national and international book sector.

Special Advisor (Mana Māori): Iona Winter
Iona Winter’s hybrid work is widely published and anthologised in literary publications internationally. She creates work to be performed, relishing cross-modality collaboration, and holds a Master of Creative Writing. Iona has authored three collections, Gaps in the Light (2021), Te Hau Kāika (2019) and then the wind came (2018). Skilled at giving voice to difficult topics, she often draws on her deep connection to land, place and whenua. Iona lives on the East Otago Coast, Aotearoa New Zealand.

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.

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