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Call for nominations: Te Awhi Rito New Zealand Reading Ambassador

Te Awhi Rito RGB-692-868The new role of Te Awhi Rito New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in August 2020.

Te Awhi Rito New Zealand Reading Ambassador champions the importance of reading in the lives of young New Zealanders, their whänau, and communities. They are a national reading role model, building visibility and awareness of reading across all sectors in Aotearoa New Zealand and helping to create a nation of readers.

The name Te Awhi Rito comes from the harakeke or flax plant. The 'rito' is the young shoot at the centre of the plant and ‘Awhi Rito’ are the strong mature leaves that stand straight and tall to surround, protect and nurture the Rito. Outside Te Awhi Rito are the 'Tupuna' or older leaves that bend towards the ground, supporting the entire harakeke bush and eventually becoming part of the fertile ground beneath. The harakeke is sometimes used as a metaphor for the generations in a family with te Awhi Rito as parents, connecting the young people or rito in the centre of the bush to their grandparents or tūpuna.

Te Awhi Rito is not a direct translation for Reading Ambassador but represents this role in nurturing and inspiring the rito who are the young readers and new readers. The tūpuna represent the many organisations, authors, teachers, libraries and other advocates for reading in Aotearoa New Zealand

Over time, each Te Awhi Rito New Zealand Reading Ambassador will add their mana and mahi to strengthen the whole harakeke or He Pā Rito.

The Te Awhi Rito Reading Ambassador initiative is led by the National Library in collaboration with founding partners Te Puna Foundation, Creative New Zealand, Storylines and Te Pou Muramura Read NZ. Funding for the role has been provided by Te Puna Foundation for the first three years, though it is anticipated that this will be an enduring programme.

The inaugural Te Awhi Rito New Zealand Reading Ambassador will be appointed part time for two years. The details of the programme they will undertake will be determined by the strengths and interests of Te Awhi Rito, working with the partner group, which will provide support to the successful appointee.

Appointment to the position is by nomination. Each person can nominate up to three people for the role, using separate nomination forms; a person can be nominated multiple times by different people but only one nomination is required to be eligible. Criteria for selection are outlined on the Te Awhi Rito web page. A selection panel of up to eight people, including representatives of the founding partner group, will make the final decision.

More detail is on the web page, which links to the online nomination form. The person nominating someone for the role completes the nomination form. Before they do this, they must check with the person to make sure they agree to be nominated, and check that they would be available to take up the role.

The establishment of a high-profile national voice for reading and literacy is something Storylines has worked for and dreamed of for many years. We are delighted to be working with National Library, Te Puna Foundation, Creative New Zealand and Te Pou Muramura Read NZ to bring the dream to reality in 2021.

Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award presentation and lecture

Lorraine Orman, winner of the 2020 Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award for services to New Zealand children's literature, presented her lecture and received her award on 29th November as a function that also featured the presentation of 2020 Storylines Notable Book Awards, and the belated presentation of the 2020 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal to Maria Gill.
The event was held at the University of Auckland's Faculty of Education in Epsom and was a welcome return to face to face gatherings for those who attended.

Read more about Lorraine here.


Peter Gilderdale, representing the Gilderdale family, with Lorraine Orman after the presentation of her lecture Story and Serendipity.

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Maria Gill (right) pictured with Storylines Trust Chair Christine Young and Brigid Mahy after the presentation of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal.
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Three of the founding members of the Children's Literature Foundation (later renamed Storylines Foundation), Helen Beckingsale, Rosemary Tisdall and Frances Plumpton, cut the cake marking 20 years since the Foundation's establishment.

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flogo RGB HEX-72Keep up to date with Storylines events and activities on our Facebook page


Storylines Betty Gilderdale Award 2020 presentation

This scheduled to take place in December. Watch our newsletter or Facebook page for details


Marlborough Story Tour

From 16-20 November the final Storylines Story Tour for 2020 visits early childhood centres, schools and/or community venues from Blenheim to Nelson, and places in between, with presenters Michel Mulipola, Amy Haarhoff, Eirlys Hunter and Falstaff Dowling-Mitchell.

Email festival@storylines.org.nz if you wish to make a last-minute booking or have any questions.


Recent News

2020 Storylines Award presentations

Release dates for the videos of our 2020 Award winners' presentation and acceptance speeches are close. We'll release these as soon as final editing is finished.

Storylines Joy Cowley Award Released. Watch the video here

Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award Release date: Late October

Storylines Janice Marriott Mentoring Award Release Date: Late October.

Storylines Tessa Duder Award Release date: Tuesday 27 October

Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award. Release Date: Friday 30 October.

Storylines Kids' Pick Award. Released Watch the video here.

We'll provide video link sand updates on our Facebook page, and in our next newsletter will provide links that will be accessible on individual Award pages.

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The video featuring Tania Sickling, winner of the 2020 Storylines Joy Cowley Award is available online from Friday 16 October.

New name for Storylines Children's Literature Foundation

We have recently undertaken a review of the Storylines Children's Literature Foundation Constitution and the Storylines Children's
Literature Trust Deed. The Trustees have
approved the new Trust Deed and the
Foundation Constitution is to be voted
on by Storylines Foundation members at the
AGM on 5 April 2020.
As part of these changes, there is a name
change for the Foundation, to The Friends of
Storylines, and both organisations are adopting
a Māori name as an integral part of their identity.

The full name of the Storylines Trust will be
Storylines Children's Literature Charitable Trust
of New Zealand Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o
Once the new Constitution is adopted, its full
name will be Friends of Storylines Incorporated
Nga Pou o te Whare Waituhi o Aotearoa.

These names have been developed for us by members of the Faculty of Māori and
Indigenous Development at Auckland
University of Technology. A full explanation of
the thinking behind the new names can be
found here.

Please contact childlitnz@storylines.org.nz if
you are interested in joining Friends of Storylines
Nga Pou o te Whare Waituhi o Aotearoa or want
to know more about our organisation or structure.


Info worth reading


2020 Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award winner

The winner of the 2020 Gaelyn Gordon Award for a much-loved book is The Big Block of Chocolate, written by Janet Slater and illustrated by Christine Dale




Storylines Award-winning title launched

The winners of the 2018 Storylines Joy Cowley  Award for a manuscript for a picture book, The Little Ghost who lost her Boo, was launched at a special 2019 Storylines event in August  this year ahead of teh annual Booksellers New Zealand conference.

Scholastic publisher Lynette Evans launched the book, written by Elaine Bickell of Wellington, with illustrations by Raymond McGrath. Not only was the book launched, but Lorraine revealed that the book has been picked up by a prestigious American publishing house.


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Storylines Award-winning titles launched

The winners of the 2018 Storylines Tom Fitzgibbon Award for a manuscript for a junior fiction novel, and the 2018 Storylines Tessa Duder Award for a manuscript for young adults were launched at the at the 2019 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Awards Day on 31 March this year.

Ursa, written by Tina Shaw, is published by Walker Books, and was winner of the Stroylines Tessa Duder Award. Read more about Ursa, and the Tessa Duder Award.

Bullseye Bella by James Guthrie, won the Storylines Tom Firtzgibbon Award. It is published by Scholastic NZ. Read more.

Ursa cover image 9781760651244-42-748

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Book listed for UK Award

Last year Storylines patron Dame Wendy Pye  launched the book Children’s Literature in a Multiliterate Word edited by Waikato lecturer Nicola Daly and Storylines chair Dr Libby Limbrick, with advisory editor Pam Dix. The book is a diverse collection of essays by 12 scholars in children’s literature from the very successful 35th IBBY World Congress 2016 held in Auckland.
Children's Literature in a Multililterate World has now  been shortlisted for the United Kingdom Literacy Association 2019 Academic Book Award. Children's Literature in a Multililterate World is published by Trentham Books and UCL, Institute of Education Press, University College London.
You can order it  from www.ucl-ioe-press.com and in Kindle/eBook formats.

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Member-only videos and tip sheets

Storylines members can  receive access to a series of 16 videos, filmed at the 2017 Storylines Writers and Illustrators Hui. The videos provide insights into the creative and writing processes of 16 of our top writers and illustrators.Check out a sample here. Members can access the first videos here. Others will be uploaded during may and June.
The series of "Top Ten Tips" sheets offer pithy and useful advice to aspiring writers and illustrators, andfor teachers, parents and librarians. They're written by leading practitioners such as Bruce Potter and Leonie Agnew among others. Coming: more from writers and Illustrators, plus from educators on getting your child reading and an agent on how to get published.

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Our Supporters
Storylines would like to thank our major funders and supporters:

CNZ logo colour-721Creative New Zealand

Storylines is supported by the Creative New Zealand Toi Uru Kahikatea (Arts Development) Investments Programme, with funding to assist us in our mission of supporting New Zealand children's and young adult writers and illustrators, and in engaging young New Zealanders with books and reading.

FoundationNorth-Logo-Full-Colour-CMYK 0-420Foundation North

Lottery Grants Board, Community Matters

We also receive generous funding from:
Auckland Council LF CorporateLogo cmyk A-36-462Lion Foundation New Zealand Book Council
Other organisations

Other organisations who share our objective of promoting books and reading in New Zealand include:

New Zealand Book Council

NZ Book Awards logo-865-292New Zealand Book Awards Trust

nzsa-logo-276  New Zealand Society of Authors

National Library of New Zealand

Duffy Books in Homes

Michael King Writers’ Centre

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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.