Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NZ Book Month vouchers extended for Christchurch readers

In the week before the devastating Christchurch earthquake in February, I shared the news about the $20 million worth of book vouchers that were being given away as part of New Zealand Book Month celebrations (4 million $5 vouchers, basically one for every person in the country). It is a fantastic initiative, and I have personally used a voucher to buy one of the few recent Kiwi crime/thriller novels I didn't already own (or hadn't read): THE CRIME OF HUEY DUNSTAN by James McNeish. Unfortunately for the bookloving people of Christchurch, along with everything else they've had to deal with, many of their NZ Book Month related events have also been cancelled or badly affected.

However, New Zealand Book Month is now pleased to advise that the delivery of the $5 book voucher put on hold to Christchurch is now underway. And in response to requests from Christchurch families, teachers, librarians and booksellers, residents will be able to take advantage of the voucher for an extended period of time.

Every child in school received a voucher via their principal on Monday 14 March. Two further vouchers will be delivered to 105,000 homes this weekend – Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 March. In addition vouchers will be available at Caltex and BNZ stores.

Eighteen out of the 28 local booksellers that had confirmed their support of the $5 book voucher are now open, with the remaining 10 closed until further notice. The eighteen open stores where Christchurch residents can redeem their vouchers are:
  • Paper Plus: Barrington, Bush Inn, Ferrymead, Hornby, Merivale, New Brighton, Northlands, and South City;
  • Take Note: Kaiapoi
  • Picadilly Bookshop in Avonhead Mall
  • The Reading Bug at 140 Colombo Street, Beckenham
  • UBS Canterbury at the University of Canterbury in Ilam
  • Whitcoulls: Bishopdale, Christchurch Airport, Clearance, Hornby, Northlands, Riccarton
In addition, thanks to the generosity and support of Booksellers NZ and over 130 participating publishers, the above 18 stores will now be able to redeem vouchers up to and including 31 May 2011, regardless of the date on the voucher, giving Canterbury readers much longer to take advantage of this great offer, and grab themselve a great Kiwi book to read to their kids, or otherwise take their mind off things for a while.
National Co-ordinator Beth Davies, herself a Christchurch resident, says "We are overwhelmed by the ongoing support to forge ahead with New Zealand Book Month, and by the events that are still taking place around the city. We've had fifteen events confirmed to go ahead over the next two weeks. Despite so many obstacles, the team at Christchurch City Libraries are still hosting eleven of those."

For full details of confirmed Christchurch events, please visit

Bouquets all 'round, I say. Crime Watch heartily endorses the efforts of all the Christchurch booklovers, under very trying circumstances. In fact, I think we should all go out and celebrate NZ Book Month by buying a book from a Christchurch author - whether it's a classic Margaret Mahy tale to read to the kids, or a Paul Cleave, Andrew Grant or Steve Malley thriller for ourselves. Kia Kaha Christchurch.

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