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Featherston Booktown – and Featherston – were among many individuals and communities recognised at the New Zealander of the Year Awards, held in Auckland last night.

The Featherston Booktown Festival, which started three years ago, received a Certificate of Achievement from Awards Patron, Rt Hon. Jim Bolger ONZ.

The Chair of the Featherston Community Board, Robyn Ramsden, was called on stage to receive the Certificate from Mr Bolger and said that it “was a very proud evening for Featherston Booktown and for Featherston.”

Peter Biggs, Chair of Featherston Booktown, who was also at the inspirational black-tie event, said that receiving the Certificate is “a tribute to the people and the community of Featherston.

“Featherston Booktown is truly owned by the people of Featherston – and the Featherston community has enthusiastically embraced Featherston Booktown since the first Festival in 2015,” he said.

“The Certificate of Achievement is also great recognition of Featherston resident, Lincoln Gould (who owns Messines Books – one of six book shops which have sprung up in Featherston since 2015), who came up with the idea of Featherston Booktown.

“Lincoln now deservedly carries the title of Founding Kaumatua of Featherston Booktown.”

Peter Biggs went on:

“Every year, the locals of Featherston provide an army of volunteers to help organise and run the Annual Featherston Booktown Festival.

“In addition, local donors have contributed money to Featherston Booktown and its aims, including one Featherston-based benefactor who donates a significant amount of money to ensure that every young person in the Featherston community receives a free book voucher to buy books both during and after the Featherston Booktown Festival. This voucher scheme has become extremely popular and is an example of how Featherston Booktown has inspired community engagement.

“Featherston Booktown is managed, planned and driven by a Board of Trustees who are all locals and who give huge amounts of their time and energy unselfishly.”

Peter Biggs said that Featherston Booktown is now a national phenomenon and a stand-out event in the calendar of the Wellington region. Other events, including book launches for local authors, are held at other times during the year.

The Featherston Booktown Trust is currently planning this year’s Featherston Booktown Festival (it takes place on 11 – 13 May) and, according to Peter Biggs, “this year’s programme is incredibly exciting.”

Robyn Ramsden, said she felt “very honoured to receive the Certificate of Achievement on behalf of Featherston Booktown.

“Featherston Booktown is one of many initiatives in Featherston which is making the town incredibly vibrant and a great place to live, work and visit.”

The Patron of Featherston Booktown, acclaimed writer Joy Cowley, said that “we didn’t need to be told that Featherston is a fantastic little town: but it’s gratifying that New Zealand knows it too.”

Photo: Robyn Ramsden (Chair of the Featherston Community Board) receiving recognition award

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