login login

Storylines National Festival Story Tour

Storylines National Festival Story Tour 2018 Schedule Announced
Latest news

Taranaki Adult event

The next stage in the Storylines National Festival Story Tour is to Taranaki from 6-10 August.
As part of the visit to the region 40 schools will be visited, and an evening event for adults takes place at Puke Ariki in New Plymouth on Wednesday 8 August, from 5.30-6.30pm. You can get more information about this event from Emma Johnston on 06 759 6060.
 Come and hear our Story Tour participants  Sacha Cotter, Josh Morgan, Tom E Moffatt, and  Ripeka Takotowai Goddard share their ideas on how we can encourage children to be more engaged readers. It will be an informative evening for parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and anyone interested in engaging our rangitahi to enjoy books and reading.

Josh Morgan 2018-172

Future tour participants

An exciting line-up of writers and illustrators has been confirmed for the Auckland and Northland Story Tours later in the year.

Raymond Huber, Rachael Craw, Raymond McGrath and Kelly Wilson will wow Auckland students, while Kyle Mewburn, Fraser Smith and Heather Haylock are three of the four participants in Northland. Watch this space for the announcement of the final participant in Northland.

Heather Haylock

Heather Haylock IMG 6233a-52


In 2018 the Storylines National Festival Story Tour visist six regions, with generous funding from Creative New Zealand and other funders meaning that we can continue to offer these visits to schools free of charge.

The Storylines National Festival Story Tour sends 24 leading authors and illustrators to visit schools, early childhood education centres, community groups and libraries. The 2018 Story Tour follows the highly successful, inaugural 2017 Story Tour, which reached nearly 20,000 children across six regions (see below).

The Festival rotates between regions, allowing for smaller cities and rural areas to be included. Applications are open online, and interested schools, early childhood centres, libraries and community groups can apply for visits and to host adult community events. Early application is advised, as demand is expected to be high.

Enquire now about the 2018 Storylines National Festival Story Tour, go to our Facebook page,
or fill out an application form online:
  • Canterbury, 12 – 16 March 2018. Districts: Christchurch, Selwyn and Ashburton
  • West Coast, 7 - 11 May 2018. Districts: Buller and Grey
  • Hawkes Bay, 11 – 15 June 2018. Districts: Napier, Hastings and Central Hawkes Bay
  • Taranaki, 6 - 10 August 2018. Districts: New Plymouth, Stratford, South Taranaki
  • Auckland, 10 Sept Auckland West, 12 Sept Central Auckland and Waiheke Island, 13 Sept Auckland North,  14 Sept Auckland East
  • Auckland South – 11 September
    AM Session Years 7&8 10.00am - 11.45am
    PM Session Years 4-6 12.45pm - 2.30pm
  • Northland, 29 October – 2 November 2018. Districts: Far North and Kaipara

2017 Storylines Festival Story Tour a resounding success

Story Tour Clyde-442-491-613

Story Tourists at Clyde School
Gavin Bishop MST 2017 b-606

Gavin Bishop on the Manawatu Story Tour
Darren Joseph and Gavin Bishop a MST 2017-102

Darryn Joseph and Gavin Bishop
Michel Mulipola and Spiderman at Rototuna High School-289

Michel Mulipola self portrait at Rototuna High School
Sally Sutton c MST 2017-684

Sally Sutton entertains on the Manawatu Story Tour
Tessa Duder at Feilding Intermediate School MST 2017 -718

Tessa Duder presents to students at Feilding Intermediate School

In 2017, Storylines built on its strong and respected role in the New Zealand literary community as an advocate and promoter of New Zealand children’s literature with a revamped and re-focused programme. The new Storylines National Festival Story Tour celebrates and promotes writers and illustrators of New Zealand children’s literature, and extends Storylines’ reach to more metropolitan and regional centres.

The new-look Storylines National Festival Story Tour held during 2017 has been a resounding success with more than 19,000 children and teens from Northland to Invercargill visited by leading authors and illustrators.

The 2017 Storylines National Festival Story Tour was supported by Creative New Zealand, Foundation North, New Zealand Book Council and other funders. It took teams of 4 or 5 writers and illustrators to tour the Northland, South Auckland/Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Manwatu, Nelson/Blenheim and Queenstown/Invercargill regions. Each team spent five days touring the region, visiting from 22 to 51 schools, early education centres and libraries. Evening events for adults were also included. Writers included award-winners Melinda Syzmanik, Tim Tipene, David Hill, Stacy Gregg, Darryn Joseph, Des Hunt and Fifi Colston; among the illustrators were Gavin Bishop, Scott Tulloch and Vasanti Unka.
Stroylines is also delighted that the feedback from children and teachers has been overwhlemingly positive. A typical response came from a Nelson teacher who wrote, “The Storylines Story Bus Tour roared into the Tasman District this week and provided us with four amazing, prize-winning authors of children’s or young adults’ books. Thanks to the Storylines Trust for providing such an inspirational day to many young readers and would–be storytellers.”

About the Story Tour

Each year as part of the Storylines Festival, Storylines Story Tours have brought New Zealand writers and illustrators into schools, homeschool groups, early childhood centres, community groups and libraries. The Storylines National Festival Story Tour will, as in the past, be provided at no cost to schools, early childhood centres and community venues. 

This is a rare opportunity for students to meet their literary heroes and to get insights and answers to some of those burning questions: Where do their ideas come from? What was the inspiration? How did they know they wanted to become a writer or illustrator? How did they make their dream a reality?

Schools, homeschool groups, early childhood centres, community groups and libraries are invited to apply for a visit or to be a host for the Storylines National Festival Story Tours. There is already high demand for Storylines National Festival Story Tour visits, so make sure you make an early application.

Please read 'What happens on the Story Tour?'  before completing the online Storylines National Festival Story Tour application form to register your interest. 

What happens on the Story Tour?
The aim of Story Tours is for 'under fives' and school pupils of all ages to meet the creators of books they've read and enjoyed, learn something about books and publishing, and to inspire students to undertake their own artistic, literary and dramatic efforts.

The Story Tour Coordinator plans the itineraries to maximise the time visiting authors and illustrators can spend with students and members of the public in a district (e.g. by spending a full day in Tauranga). We welcome and are grateful to schools or libraries prepared to host children from two or three neighbouring schools or early childhood centres. The Coordinator aims to match the guest authors and/or illustrators to the interests and age group of the audience. 

Suitable venues within a school may be the library, the school hall or a classroom, depending on numbers. Or there may be a community hall or library in your area able to host the visit.The authors are appreciative of teachers' efforts to prepare the students for their specific visiting author (names of their books, some biographical information etc).

Depending on the schedule, a school may be asked to provide morning tea or light lunch for the authors and illustrators and their supporters (usually driver and navigator).

2018 Storylines National Festival Story Tour programme

Canterbury Story Tour 
  • Monday 12 March - Friday 16 March 2018
  • Apply now
  • Christchurch, Selwyn and Ashburton
West Coast Story Tour
  • Monday 7 May - Friday 11 May 2018
  • Apply now
  • Buller and Gray 
Hawkes Bay Story Tour
  • Monday 11 June - Friday 15 June 2018
  • Apply now
  • Napier, Hastings and Central Hawkes Bay
Taranaki Story Tour
  • Monday 6 August - Friday 10 August 2018
  • Apply now
  • New Plymouth, Stratford and South Taranaki
Auckland Story Tour
  • Monday 10 September  Auckland West, 12 September Central Auckland and Waiheke Island, 13 September Auckland North,  14 September Auckland East
  • Apply now
Auckland South 
  • Tuesday 11 September Auckland South
  • Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau
  • AM session Years 7&8 10.00 - 11.45am
  • PM session Years 4 - 6 12.40 - 2.30pm
  • Apply now
Northland Story Tour
  • Monday 29 October - Friday 2 November 2018
  • Apply now
  • Far North and Kaipara

Need more information?

Do you want us to visit you but would like more info? Please contact the Story Tour Coordinator. 

Background: Changes to Storylines' Festival programme in 2017

For 23 years, the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand has delivered its annual national Festival of New Zealand’s Children’s Writers and Illustrators through six Festival Family Days (Northland, Auckland, South Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin) and two Story Tours (Auckland/South Auckland and Northland). Over this time hundreds of thousands of young people and their families have engaged in interactive programmes that allowed children and young people to meet their literary heroes, celebrated and promoted New Zealand children’s writers and illustrators, and encouraged a lifelong love of books.

After the 2016 Festival, Storylines Trustees and management decided that it was timely to refresh and rejuvenate the format of Storylines’ annual programmes for the benefit of young readers, writers and illustrators, and the wider literary community, in order to better meet the changing needs of our audiences and stakeholders. 

In replacing the previous Festival format with a National Story Tour, Storylines will expand into new regions and continue to promote Storylines' aims of:

•    nurturing a love of reading and writing by young people of all ages in a range of genres: fiction, non-fiction, graphic, oral and digital;
•    supporting  the work and professional development of New Zealand’s writers and illustrators of books for children and young people;
•    developing an appreciation of the power of children's literature in supporting the development of cultural identity and literacy in children and young adults throughout New Zealand.  

Building on the success and appeal of the current Story Tours, the Storylines National Festival Story Tour will extend the Storylines Auckland/South Auckland and Northland Story Tours across New Zealand. The Story Tours have been particularly well received over many years, as they take activities that promote young people’s active engagement with children’s literature directly into schools and community centres where our young people are based, in partnership with other organisations and Storylines’ collaborative networks in the field of literature and literacy.

The new National Festival Story Tour will be linked to Storylines’ established events and programmes such as Storylines Margaret Mahy and National Awards Day in April, and the Betty Gilderdale Award presentation in November, creating a comprehensive annual calendar of children and young people’s literary events, all connected to the Storylines National Festival Story Tour. Participating children’s writers and illustrators will include celebrated Storylines Notable Books and Storylines Awards winners.

The new Storylines national tour will visit community venues and facilities in metropolitan and regional centres, smaller cities and towns in both the North and South Islands, extending Storylines’ regional reach to communities that have not previously had access to the central city-based Storylines’ Festival Family Days. 

The programme of events on tour in each region will include interactive presentations, storytelling and performances by local and touring writers and illustrators, together with evening workshops and panel discussions for adults. Programme content will be developed directly with the communities we visit to reflect cultural diversity and te reo Maori. It will also include a digital component to enable young people to engage with and participate in the tour online.  

Storylines is seeking a collaborative partners to design and produce accompanying and supporting digital materials, as well as local and national support for other elements of the programme to complement its currently well-established partnerships with publishers, booksellers and other commercial sponsors and funders, as well as engaging volunteers in each region to engage and galvanise their local community.



The Storylines Trust and Foundation together comprise New Zealand's only national organisation working year-round specifically to promote children's and young adult literature through an annual Festival in six regions, author awards, publications, advocacy and other activities ... 



for  Storylines e-news and updates
First Name*
Last Name*


Storylines welcomes support for all its activities and events. Whether as sponsors or as volunteers for Festival events or task groups, your contribution (large or small) towards helping children grow up to love books and stories will be hugely valued ...