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Storylines National Story Tours



The Storylines National Story Tour sends four leading authors and illustrators to visit schools, early childhood education centres, community groups and libraries on each of its tours each year.

The Story Tour schedule rotates between regions, allowing for smaller cities and rural areas to be included. Applications are 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 always high.

Selecting Story Tour presenters
If you are a writer and/or illustrator, please note that Storylines has a process and guidelines for selecting presenters for its Story Tours. Read more here.
Register for a Storylines Story Tour visit in 2021 - applications are now open

Thanks to Creative New Zealand and our other funders, including Foundation North and Auckland Council, all Storylines Story Tours are provided free for schools, ECEs, libraries, and community groups. All you need to do is apply and we'll let you know if we are able to visit. Places fill fast for some days and locations but we do our best to accommodate everyone who wants a visit.

Fill out your registration form online

There are the seven tours planned for 2021. Below are details of the writers, illustrators or storytellers confirmed to date for each tour. We update this page as new presenters are confirmed.
Please follow the relevant link to register your application for the Storylines National Story Tours 2021 around New Zealand.
Tessa Duder at Feilding Intermediate School MST 2017 -11
David Hill at Bay of Plenty's Waiotahe Valley School-869


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).


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.



Storylines Trust Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki and Friends of Storylines Te Pou o Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki together form New Zealand’s only national organisation working year-round to promote New Zealand children’s and young adult literature through activities that include a major national Story Tour to schools, early childhood centres and communities, and awards for writers, illustrators and those who work in the area of New Zealand children’s literature



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Storylines welcomes your support for all its activities and events. Whether as a volunteer or sponsor for annual events or specific activities, your support (large or small) towards helping young New Zealanders love books is greatly appreciated.