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Kiwi authors and books about emotions find favour with our kids

By News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By News


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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

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


The Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu

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

Creative Rights

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


Legal Action by International Publishers



Report shows Kiwis took solace in books in 2020

By News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the highlights of the report.

Ockham Book Awards logo


By News





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards judges were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

To find out more about the winners’ books go to


PANZ Book Design Awards entries open

By News

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

You can enter the awards here.

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

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

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

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

We look forward to seeing all your wonderful entries soon.

Dates for your diaries:

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

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

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



Julia Marshall

Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for 2021 awarded to publisher Julia Marshall

By News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Publishers Picks of 2020

By News

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

Sam Elworthy, Director Auckland University Press

Sam’s favourite book of the year

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

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

Sam’s book he would have loved to publish:

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

Nicola Legat, Publisher Te Papa Press & Massey University Press

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

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

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

Kevin Chapman, Director, Upstart Press

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

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

Claire Murdoch, Head of Publishing, Penguin Random House

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harriet Allan, Fiction Publisher, Penguin Random House

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

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

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

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

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

Rachel Scott, Publisher, Otago University Press

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

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

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

Carolyn Lagahetau, Editorial Director, Oratia Books

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

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

Jenny Hellen, Publishing Director, Allen & Unwin

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

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

Alex Hedley, New Zealand Publisher, HarperCollins NZ

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

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

Julia Marshall, Publisher, Gecko Press

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

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

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

A book I would like to have published:

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

Louise Russell, Publisher, Bateman Books

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

Kat Quin, Director, Illustrated Publishing

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

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



Alison Shucksmith, Product and Publishing Manager, Hachette NZ

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

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

Robbie Burton, Publisher, Potton & Burton

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

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

Fergus Barrowman, Publisher, Victoria University Press

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

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

Sally Greer and the Beatnik Publishing Team

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

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


Odessa Owens, Senior Tutor, Whitiriea

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

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

 Marie Hodgkinson, Tutor, Whitireia

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





Beau Davidson, DHD Publishing

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

Theo Gibson, CEO, Audiobooks NZ

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

Renee Hollis, Exisle Publishng

Exisle Publishing are thrilled to have published…

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

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




Kiwi readers spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful books

By Media Releases, News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2020 PANZ Book Design Awards Finalists are:


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Christine Ling

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


Jessica Read

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


For more info and book images please visit:

High-res images are available here

Gemma Finlay on behalf of PANZ,


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

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

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

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

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Mark Sayes citation for Life Membership

By News

Mark Sayes citation for Life Membership by Tracy Strudley outlines his contribution to New Zealand educational publishing and copyright:

PANZ Life Member, Mark Sayes

Mark’s service to our industry is long and his knowledge is deep. He was the PANZ council representative on the CLNZ Board from 1999 to the end of 2014 and chair of that board from 2003 – 2007. He was on PANZ council from 2013 – 2015 which is where I was fortunate to work along-side him.
Mark I think you started ESA publishing in 1994 and grew it to become a well-recognised and important brand by both teachers, students and book stores. ESA was acquired by The Open Polytechnic of NZ in 2015.
Mark has always been willing to pass on his deep knowledge of publishing, of Copyright freely. He served us well on Conference sub committees and on a number trade missions. He represented us at a government level, lobbying our causes and building important relationships within Education NZ, MFAT, and with ministers. He would meet any of us just for a cup of coffee to catch up and to assist in any way he could.
Mark’s knowledge, his passion and respect for education, his personable approach with authors, his people, and the publishing process, is one I and many others have a huge admiration for.
Mark Sayes you have truly served us all, so very well and in such a humble and unselfish manner.
Your qualities are of a standard we need to retain in our industry Your experience and passion for building and promoting excellence, must not be lost and it’s for these reasons and your fine personal qualities that you are the recipient of the 2020 Honorary Life Member of the Publishers Association of NZ.


By News

A new report from the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) has revealed Kiwis still vastly prefer print books, with sales of physical books growing while demand for ebooks has shrunk.

Despite significant investment by publishers in digital formats, ebooks make up just 7.2% of total trade and education sales in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Publishing Market Size Report 2019, completed by Nielsen Book Research for PANZ, shows that in the trade market (books for the general consumer) print book sales increased by +7.1% in 2019, while digital books declined by -4.5%.

“The report confirms that New Zealanders continue to prefer the experience that a physical book has to offer,” says PANZ president Julia Marshall.

The report provides a snapshot of an industry that was in good heart at the end of 2019, experiencing a +6% increase in total revenue on the previous year. An impressive 21.1 million books were sold in the country that year.

But the closure of physical and online bookshops in Level Four lockdown from late March 2020 caused a -20% decline in domestic book sales to the end of May 2020.

Consumers clearly missed access to books: Nielsen reports that in the second week of Level 2, domestic revenue through bookstores was up +22% compared to the same week in 2019, although sales overall are still down year-on-year.

The book trade is an important contributor to New Zealand’s economy, generating $292.2 million in total revenue last year with content exported around the world.

Last year New Zealand publishers issued 2662 new books, accounting for 23% of all domestic sales. That figure was up +11% on 2018.

The report also shows a renewed interest in books written in te Reo Māori (either directly or in translation), with these titles seeing +61% growth in unit sales over 2018.

“In the post Covid-19 world, we hope to consolidate the gains made as many consumers rediscovered the pleasure of reading, at a time when they needed it most,” Marshall says.

“The publishing industry is determined to encourage new readers and serve existing ones — providing them with the education, entertainment, reflection and challenge that good books offer.”


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