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New Zealand’s diverse literary tradition owes as much to its rich Māori and Polynesian heritage as it does to its pioneering history.

Before the printed word, story-telling and oratory captured the stories of Aotearoa New Zealand. On many marae, (Māori meeting grounds), the telling of ancient myths and legends continues. Many form the basis of Māori beliefs, like the story of how Maui fished up the North Island.

The first book was published in New Zealand in 1830. By the 20th century, authors were expanding their literary exploration into themes of land, geographical isolation and the emergence of national identity.

Today, New Zealand’s wealth of non-fiction publishing ranges from stunning artistic and commercial treatments of traditional culture and contemporary arts, through history, popular science and narrative non-fiction, to lavish lifestyle books that celebrate New Zealand’s unique culture.

New Zealand’s fiction writers have found international success with poetry, crime novels, short stories and much-loved children’s books.

Immerse yourself in New Zealand’s writing culture on a literary trail or walk, or attend a Writers and Readers festival or poetry and storytelling event. Pop into any bookstore and you’ll find a wealth of New Zealand literature available to purchase – the perfect keepsake to treasure from your time in our wonderful country.

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