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New Campaign Celebrates Kiwi Men And What They Read

A new online campaign launching on April 12 will focus on New Zealand men and their reading habits.

Blokes vs Books is a joint initiative between Read NZ Te Pou Muramura (formerly the Book Council) and the NZ Society of Authors.

The campaign will consist of a series of short, light-hearted interviews between actor and playwright Victor Rodger with well-known New Zealand men, on how books and reading have shaped their lives.

From comedian Leigh Hart to Shortland Street actor Jay Kiriona, the men share their reading habits and favourite books, many from their living rooms at home.

The clips will be released on social media over one week, and accompanied by book giveaways, interviews and articles.

Annual reading research conducted by Read NZ Te Pou Muramura showed the numbers of Kiwi men reading had dropped. This led to the development of a ‘men’s reading panel,’ made up of self-described ‘reluctant readers.’

Their input helped to design Blokes vs Books.

NZ Society of Authors Chief Executive Jenny Nagle says Blokes vs Books is about amplifying the benefits of reading.

“We know reading to children boosts academic and life achievement and research shows it is powerful when Dad reads.

“We want to stress that reading is calming in this difficult time of worry and isolation; that reading is brain food and that there are proven neurological benefits too. Men’s reading will enhance family life, men’s mental health and life outcomes.”

Read NZ Te Pou Muramura CEO Juliet Blyth believes that making reading a daily habit flows on to wider networks.

“Perhaps men don’t realise how important they are in encouraging and supporting our young people to read and to keep reading. Men we need you! Help yourself and your whānau to build a love of reading as a lifelong habit.

We’re excited to partner with NZ Society of Authors to reach a core group of potential readers who can offer so much to their whanau by modelling an enjoyment of reading and thereby help NZ thrive by growing a nation of readers. Men have such an important to role to play in this,’ she says.

The NZ Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa is a membership arts organisation representing more than 1500 writers.

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