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PANZ Endorses Changes to NZ Book Month

By June 17, 2010July 8th, 2010No Comments


New Zealand Book Month (NZBM) will take place each March from 2011 to better fit with the book industry’s annual calendar and to build a broader reach for the campaign. New Zealand Book Month has previously been held in October.

“We have taken the decision to move in order to ensure that New Zealand Book Month is sustainable for the future”, says Nikki Crowther, Project Director.

“In addition, October will be a poor choice in 2011 due to the Rugby World Cup, so we have planned a viable, long-term change now. If we are to build New Zealand Book Month into a significant celebration of books and reading, and one that all Kiwis are aware of, we need a strong and clear 3-year plan around a fixed date.”

After several months of consultation and planning, March has been identified as the optimum month that as many organisations as possible can support – including publishers, booksellers, librarians and schools, said Ms Crowther.

“The change of date to March is really exciting”, says Hamish Wright, of Wrights’ Booksellers in Cambridge. “It’s a great time for booksellers to reach out to both new and existing customers,  and for readers to get enthusiastic about books after the frenzy of Christmas, summer holidays and back to school.”

Last year, NZBM involved more than 300 events, from Stewart Island to Kaitaia, and reached an estimated 25,000 Kiwis in a month-long celebration of books and reading. Events were organised via a network of committed volunteer “activists”, and included Hairy Maclary look-alikes in Christchurch, Kate De Goldi on a fire engine in Auckland, a Murder Mystery Club in Hastings and Dr Glam in Invercargill to name just a few.

In March 2011 New Zealand Book Month will involve a wider celebration of books, reading and literacy. NZBM aims to harness the passion and commitment from its base of “activists” but also to reach out to new, lapsed and infrequent readers as well.

New Zealand Book Month will celebrate the power of reading – all books – to change and enrich our lives. Within that broader message New Zealand Book Month will continue to champion New Zealand writers, and at even more significant levels than ever before.

Crowther highlighted in particular its funding support from Creative New Zealand: “We are especially grateful for the support of Creative New Zealand. With its help we plan to double the number of author events this year – supporting Kiwi authors in reaching new audiences, and as a result introducing more potential readers right across the country to the rich variety and voice that New Zealand writers represent. Thanks to Creative New Zealand, March 2011 continues and builds on the passionate celebration of Kiwi authors that last year involved.”

“With its changes, New Zealand Book Month has the opportunity to address literacy issues in a unique and real way, with a broad and inclusive message for all Kiwis.  It’s a message that publishers feel strongly about and that’s why we endorse and fiscally support New Zealand Book Month,” says Kevin Chapman, Managing Director and Publisher, Hachette New Zealand.

“Last year, 19% of the books purchased in New Zealand were published in New Zealand. That’s a great result, but we’d like to give the people who bought the other 81% a chance to hear and learn about the immense range and quality of New Zealand writing and writers.  Going forward New Zealand Book Month wants Kiwis to leap in and immerse themselves in the rivers of brilliant stories available here, past and present.  We are committed to the idea that books change lives.” says Mary Robbins, Chair of New Zealand Book Month.