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Since 2006, New Zealand Book Month has promoted a reading culture and highlights fun ways to enjoy books, especially children, during a month chosen at the organizer’s discretion. This year, it takes place from March 1 to 31. New Zealand has found a creative way to appreciate Kiwi writers while increasing readership and preserving their literature. This non-profit initiative has made a level playing field possible for amateur and advanced writers to be acknowledged in New Zealand. More than just a recognition of talented writing and literature, the month features national writing contests and live storytelling events.

History of NZ Book Month

NZ Book Month was a non-profit initiative that began in 2006 with the aim of creating awareness of and promoting the reading of New Zealand books. It was also initiated to celebrate and support Kiwi writers — both experienced and beginner writers. It was a national event each year that had largely inconsistent dates of observation. Between 2006—2008 the event took place in September, in 2009 the event was held in October, from 2010 to 2013 the event was observed in March, and finally in August of 2014. The event was postponed indefinitely in 2015 due to a lack of funds.

Since the beginning of this initiative, NZ Book Month would run national competitions for all New Zealand writers to turn in their best writings. The top six entries would be selected to be a part of the annual anthology called the Six Pack. The selection process of these entries is done by a panel of judges randomly, only the sixth entry is selected by New Zealand Readers using an online poll. All six winners receive NZD $5,000 each, and The Six Pack is sold at NZD $6, while thousands of copies are given out to schools and libraries nationwide for free. The NZ Book Month provides a platform for all writers in New Zealand at different phases in their careers to share their best work with a larger audience.

NZ Book Month timeline

The First School Book is Published

In May, school children are able to read a schoolbook published in New Zealand for the first time.

The Esther Glen Award

This award is established to celebrate one of New Zealand's finest children's writers.

NZ Book Month Begins

NZ Book Month, a non-profit initiative, aims to create awareness of and promote the reading of New Zealand books.

NZ Book Month is Postponed

NZ Book Month is postponed indefinitely due to a lack of funding.

NZ Book Month FAQs

What is National Book Month?

Created by the National Book Foundation, October is National Book Month in an effort to help raise the profile of reading in American culture.

Why do we celebrate National Book Month

The goal of National Book Month is to encourage reading, recognize the greatest books and authors, and enjoy books in fun ways.

Which country has the highest literacy rate?

In 2016, Finland was the world’s most literate nation, according to research, with the U.K. coming in 17th, behind countries including the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

NZ Book Month Activities

  1. Attend a book event in your community

    From book launches to poetry readings or live storytelling events, attending a book event or sharing an opportunity for writers' in your community is a great way to observe the NZ Book Month. Share your experience on social media.

  2. Buy more books

    Support more writers in your community by purchasing their books. Focus especially on young talents.

  3. Change lives with books

    What better way to influence your loved ones to read than by buying books for them. Who knows, you just might be changing their lives.

5 Important Facts About New Zealand Books

  1. Book vouchers for school children

    In 2012 and 2013, $5 discount book vouchers were sent to every New Zealand school child.

  2. Fill a bookshelf

    At the launch of New Zealand’s first-ever Book Month in 2006, New Zealanders were invited to attend launches and donate a new or previously loved NZ book to one of three colorful 2.4m high bookshelves located at Aotea Square in Auckland, the steps of Parliament in Wellington and Cathedral Square in Christchurch.

  3. NZ Book Month produces a bestseller

    After only two weeks, the inaugural NZ Book Month’s publication “The Six Pack” became the number one bestseller on the Booksellers New Zealand Bestsellers List for New Zealand Fiction.

  4. Kiwi kids write

    After NZ Book Month in 2009, Kiwi children were asked to write a letter to their favorite Kiwi author, telling them why they love their books and stories — over 3,000 entries were received.

  5. Books change lives

    New Zealand Book Month has always had passionate and tireless supporters and the 2011 Books Change Lives campaign was a success both at home and abroad.

Why We Love NZ Book Month

  1. Screens vs. books

    In 2018, according to research by Horizon Research Limited for the New Zealand Book Council, in 2017, 442,600 adult New Zealanders didn’t read a book. The research confirms that books are competing with television and computer screens for leisure time, and 45- to 54-year-olds had the lowest percentage of reading of any age group. NZ Book Month is a welcome initiative to address these findings.

  2. Writers are important too

    New Zealand Book Month is designed to promote the country's stories, improve the reading culture in various communities, and beyond this, to encourage local writers, including the amateur and experienced, to keep writing. Some of these writers were student contributors, many of whom had stories published for the very first time.

  3. Kids love books

    During one of the NZ Book Month events, Lumsden Library set up a special in the family corner. Children were invited to bring in their favorite book to share at mat time and then put it in the library for everyone to read. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm the children had to read a book with their friends, a teacher or parent, or even just to sit quietly and read a book by themselves.

NZ Book Month dates

2025March 1Saturday
2026March 1Sunday
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2029March 1Thursday
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