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Thousands of free books hit the road for ultimate tiki-tour

31 October 2012

NOTE: Embargoed until announcement by the Governor-General at 5pm today (31 October)

Thousands of free books hit the road for the ultimate tiki-tour

Thousands of books by New Zealand and international authors are about to begin an epic journey toward unknown final destinations which might be anywhere around the globe.

The books will be freely distributed around dozens of towns and cities throughout New Zealand – each book with a label inviting the public to take it, read it, then pass it on.

The books, more than 4,000 in all, are part of the “Travelling Books” project, an initiative by Literacy Aotearoa and New Zealand Post designed to foster a love of reading, and of sharing books which bring people enjoyment.

Now in its second year, the Travelling Books project is being launched tonight (Wednesday 31 October) at Government House in Auckland by the Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine Mateparae.

Once launched, the books will begin their journeys by being left in public locations in the following centres:

Lower Hutt
Upper Hutt
Palmerston North Whanganui
New Plymouth Napier
Te Kuiti
Waiheke Island Waitakere
North Shore
Auckland Central Dargaville

The free books – nearly 100 different titles – include works by household names such as John Grisham and Margaret Mahy; alongside works by beloved authors like Albert Wendt and Joy Cowley; and less well-known treasures by a range of local and international authors.

“The Travelling Books project is born of the understanding that sharing the pleasure of reading books with others is hugely rewarding,” says Literacy Aotearoa CEO, Bronwyn Yates.

“The initiative aims to spread the joy of reading, by sharing fiction and non-fiction titles, making the exciting worlds of children’s, young adult and adult books readily available to New Zealanders everywhere.

“If it also helps to raise people’s awareness that adult literacy need is a major national issue, which prevents a great many New Zealanders from enjoying this pleasure, then that’s even better,” Bronwyn Yates added.

New Zealand Post has a strong tradition of promoting reading and, as sponsor of both the New Zealand Post Book Awards and the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, was a natural partner for Literacy Aotearoa on this project.
New Zealand Post’s head of sponsorship Nicola Airey says the Travelling Books project is a fun and innovative way to promote reading amongst New Zealanders, by making books available to those who otherwise may not be able to access them.

“The simple act of passing on a book you’ve enjoyed to someone else reinforces the joys of sharing and recommending books to others,” Nicola Airey said.

Travelling Book spotters can recognise the new releases by a distinctive sticker on the cover. Inside they will find instructions on how to pass the books on once they’ve finished. They can hand them on to a friend or colleague or, even better, leave them in a safe dry, public space, where they can be found anew by passers-by, who can take them home and discover for themselves the pleasure of reading freely shared books.

The books will be sent on their journey around the country by the 45 member providers of Literacy Aotearoa, who will work with local PostShops to liberate them into their communities. Literacy Aotearoa has developed a system to monitor these migratory volumes: each book has a unique code inside the front cover; anyone who picks it up and reads it, is invited to log on to the Literacy Aotearoa website and record its location. Everyone who reports a book sighting goes into a monthly draw to win a $50 gift voucher.

The books were purchased from Huia Publishers, Random House, Gecko Press and Scholastic – who offered generous discounts to help support the Travelling Books project.

For more information see:


A selection of the titles included in this year’s Travelling Books project

Children’s Books:

• Stories of the Wild West Gang – Joy Cowley
• After Dark: Creatures of the NZ Forest – Julia Crouth
• The Legend of the Seven Whales – Mere Whaanga-Schollum
• Cuzzies Meet the Motuhoa Shark - Tommy Kapai
• Down in the Forest – Yvonne Morrison
• Dinosaur Rescue – Stego Snottysaurus - Kyle Mewburn & Donovan Bixley
• Chinatown Girl – Eva Wong-Ng
• Te Tarau o Papa Koroua – Joy Watson
• Organ Music – Margaret Mahy
• Fruitloops and Dipsticks – Ulf Stark
• I Am So Strong – Mario Ramos
• Hinemoa Te Toa - Tim Tipene, John Bennett, Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira

Young Adult Fiction:

• Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ken Catran
• Thieves - Ella West
• Malcolm and Juliet - Bernard Beckett
• Rocco – Sheryl Jordan
• Deep Fried – Bernard Beckett
• The End of the Alphabet – Fleur Beale
• Boyznbikes – Vince Ford

Adult Fiction:

• The Songmaker’s Chair - Albert Wendt
• Festival of Miracles by Alice Tawhai
• The Smell of the Moon – Mark Kneubuhl
• The Skeleton Woman – Renee
• Niu Voices – Huia Publishers
• At the Heart of Hiruharama – Isabel Wati-Mulholland
• The Confession – John Grisham
• Rebel Heiress – Fiona Mountain

Adult Non-Fiction:

• Against the Odds: Matt Te Pou and Māori Rugby - Matt McIlwraith
• Victoria Cross at Takrouna – The Haani Manahi Story – Paul Moon
• On the Wings of Mercury – Lorraine Moller
• A Lion Called Christian – Anthony Bourke and John Rendall
• Bowling through India – Justin Brown
• Trust – Pip Desmond
• 100 NZ Pop Culture Stories – Mitchell Hawkes
• Hikoi – Aroha Harris

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