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New Zealanders Prove 'Crazy' Notion Possible

A "crazy notion" hit upon by a Northland woman has proved not so crazy this week, thanks to the big hearts and enthusiasm of ordinary New Zealanders.

The "Books Without Borders" campaign, which asks New Zealand children to help donate enough books to fill a forty foot container to be shipped to Nigeria, is taking off at a rate of knots, as hundreds of cartons of books pile up around the country. The campaign, which came together over the internet in little more than a week as a result of a passionate desire by Northland educator Fiona Lovatt-Davis to help improve literacy in Nigeria, is attracting strong interest everywhere from Southland to Whangarei as teachers encourage their pupils to choose favourite books to donate to the cause.

Campbells Bay Primary school teacher Sharon Purchase says that she made her pupils realise what a worthy cause it was by asking them to imagine a world without Hairy McClary, Mog, or Spot the Dog.

"They couldn't imagine a house without a groaning bookcase, let alone a school with no books!" she says. Similar stories are emerging from around the country, as schools miles from any city, let alone any town, dig deep into their bookcases to find every last pre-loved book.

A spokesperson for the campaign, Hannah Palmer, says that the organisers are absolutely "gobsmacked" by the response from teachers, pupils, and even ordinary New Zealanders who have heard about the campaign via word of mouth, or local newspapers.

"To think that this all started with one woman's idea and has grown to be this massive in this short space of time is absolutely unbelievable," she says. "And considering that the official challenge to fill the container doesn't begin until Monday - and we already have over 10,000 books - that is just phenomonal. It just shows you what New Zealanders are capable of."

The campaign runs from Monday 14th December to Friday 18th of December. Anyone interested in helping should contact Hannah Palmer at

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