Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand | Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o Aotearoa

Storylines National Story Tours


The Storylines National Story Tours send four leading authors, illustrators and storytellers to visit schools, early childhood education centres, community groups and libraries on each tour each year.

The Story Tour schedule rotates between regions, ensuring that smaller cities and rural areas are included. There are eight kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) tours planned for 2024. Below are details of dates and regions for the face to face tours.  We will add names of the writers, illustrators or storytellers for each tour as they are confirmed.

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 Story Tours.

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

Please follow the relevant link below to register your application for the 2024 Storylines Story Tours around New Zealand. 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.

Storylines Story Tours in 2024

Thanks to Creative New Zealand and our other funders, including Foundation North, 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 in your registration form online

Mackenzie Story Tour - 18 to 22 March 2024

Visiting South Canterbury, Mackenzie, Aoraki/ Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo, Fairlie, Twizel, Timaru, Waimate and Waitaki.

Invercargill and Southland Story Tour - 13 to 17 May 2024

Guests include Katie Furze, Des Hunt, Kieran Rynhart and Te Awhi Rito NZ Reading Ambassador, Alan Dingley.
Visiting Invercargill, Gore and Southland.

Gisborne Region Story Tour - 27 to 31 May 2024

Guests include Tim Tipene, JL Williams, Pippa Ensor and Heather Haylock.

Visiting Gisborne and Wairoa.

Auckland Region Story Tour - 17 to 21 June 2024

Northland Region Story Tour - 19 to 23 August 2024

Visiting Rodney, Kaipara and the Far North.

East Coast of the South Island Story Tour - 2 to 6 September 2024

Visiting Blenheim, Kaikoura, Hurunui and Waimakariri.

Central Plateau Story Tour - 4 to 8 November 2024

Visiting Rotorua, Taupo and Ruapehu.

Thames, Coromandel and Hauraki Story Tour - 18 to 22 November 2024

Visiting Thames, Coromandel and Hauraki region.

TIna Shaw talks about her books with students at Dargaville Intermediate School_IMG_1307
Tina Shaw talks about her books with students at Dargaville Intermediate School on the Northland Story Tour in June 2022
Tina Shaw, Ben Brown, Elena de Roo and Ruth Paul start the 2022 Northland Story Tour_IMG_1201
Tina Shaw, Ben Brown, Elena de Roo and Ruth Paul start the 2022 Northland Story Tour in Snell's Beach.
Tessa Duder at Feilding Intermediate School MST 2017
Tessa Duder presents to students at Feilding Intermediate School
Ben Brown holds the attention of students at Maungatoroto Primary School Northland Story Tour 2022_IMG_1251
Te Awhi Rito Ben Brown at Maungatoroto Area School on the Northland Story Tour in June 2022
Author Elena de Roo with junior students at Opononi Area School Northland Story Tour 2022_IMG_1348
Author Elena de Roo at Opononi Area School on the Northland Story Tour in June 2022
Ruth Paul illustrates a student-generated story about a taniwha at Pakaraka School Northland Stroy Tour_IMG_1428
Ruth Paul illustrates a student-generated story about a taniwha at Pakaraka School on the Northland Story Tour 2022

About the Story Tour

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 Storylines National Story Tours continue to celebrate and promote writers and illustrators of New Zealand children’s and young adult literature, and now extend Storylines’ reach to more metropolitan and regional centres than our previous programme allowed.

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

These visits are 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?

The new-look Storylines National Story Tour first held during 2017 was a resounding success with more than 19,000 children and teens from Northland to Invercargill visited by leading authors and illustrators. Since then there has been an enduring demand for visits, and large numbers of tamariki and rangatahi at early childhood, primary and secondary levels meet and hear from leading New Zealand writers and illustrators.

The 2017 Storylines National Story Tour took teams of four or five 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. Tours in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 have visited a similar range of regions, including several Storylines has not visited previously. In 2020, in response to Covid-19 lockdowns, we presented a similar number of tours live online which were available nationwide.

Storylines is delighted that the feedback from students and teachers has been overwhelmingly 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.”

What happens on the Story Tour?

The aim of Storylines Story Tours is for preschoolers 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 manager 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 one centre). We welcome and are grateful to schools or libraries prepared to host children from two or three neighbouring schools or early childhood centres. The manager 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 or illustrators visiting are always 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/illustrators and their supporters (usually driver and Storylines representative).


Background history

For 23 years, the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand 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 encouraged a lifelong love of books, allowed children and young people to meet their literary heroes, and that celebrated and promoted New Zealand children’s writers and illustrators and their 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 programme, Storylines expanded into new regions and continued 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 Festival Story Tours, the Storylines National Story Tours extended the Storylines Auckland/South Auckland and Northland Story Tours across New Zealand. These Story Tours had been particularly well received over many years, as they promoted young people’s active engagement with children’s literature directly in schools and community centres where our young people were based, in partnership with other organisations and Storylines’ collaborative networks in the field of literature and literacy.

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

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

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

Storylines is seeking collaborative partners to design and produce accompanying and supporting digital materials. It also seeks 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.

Support Us

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.

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