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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.


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.

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