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Programme of events

Friday 16 - Sunday 18 October 2015


Skip to the bottom or click here for a compact diary of events

or, to view a PDF of the programme click here.



Opening Fish & Chips Supper at Tarureka Estate

Dine out at one of Featherston's most historic and beguiling premises, Tarureka Estate, a prestigious venue for weddings and conferences.  Meet the organisers of Featherston Booktown and enjoy a free glass of something local while toe-tapping to live music.  A fish and chips supper will be served in the loft and there will be a paying bar.  After dinner Geoff Robinson, respected ex-anchor of Radio New Zealand National's Morning Report will talk about his life in media.

7.30pm, Tarureka Estate, 38 Donald St.

To book go to Kokomai Creative Festival, tickets $25


Booksellers @ ANZAC Hall & on Fitzherbert & Fox Streets

Almo's, Arty Bees, Book Haven, The Ferret, For the Love of Books, Hedleys, Jason Books from Auckland, Pegasus, Quilters,  .. and others ... From far and wide, second hand booksellers will be assembled in the town's historic ANZAC Hall.  Come and indulge in book paradise - hardback, softback, fact and fiction, written in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas.  Speak with the Booksellers themselves, pick their brains about what they think you'll enjoy and revel in the Booktown environment.   The Hall is steeped in history and is a significant setting for the country's inaugural Booktown events.  Fitzherbert St will offer a parade of second hand books too, drawing you through the town's boutique businesses.  Featherston was the service town for the country's largest ever military training camp.  Hear the turning of pages where boots once marched.

10am - 4pm, Saturday 17 - Sunday 18, ANZAC Hall, 62 Bell St, free entry


Literary Treasure Trails

Bring out your inner-Sherlock Holmes, Lemony Snicket, Nancy Drew and Miss Marple as you follow bookish clues around Featherston.   For the grownups there’s a Mystery and Mayhem trail, and a Secrets Revealed trail for the kids, so put your thinking caps on and join in for some great prizes.

Saturday 17 & Sunday 18, all day both days, around town, free entry


Donate books for Vanuatu

Vanuatu schools need books, especially good encyclopedias, reference books, reading books from kindy up to year 13 young adult books.  If you have relevent books to spare, delivery point is 29 Fitzherbert St (formerly Chapelli's)

Saturday 17 & Sunday 18, 10am - 4pm, both days


Tarureka Estate Tours

When you get to Tarureka Estate to pick up one of your Literary Treasure Trail clues, take the opportunity to be shown around this Featherston venue, voted one of the world's Top 10 Barn Wedding Venues. It's a busy, working business in its stunning, history-loaded setting of buildings and environment.    Hamish Donald grew up in the homestead and is your knowledgeable guide.  He will take you around and share the history with you.

11am & 1pm, Saturday 17 & Sunday 18, free entry


Crafty Workshop for Kids (age 6+)

Did you know how easy it is to turn the hardback cover of a picturebook into a sturdy, stunning looking folder? Join publisher Greet Pauwelijn from Book Island at Mr Feather’s Den (19 Fitzherbert St) between 1.30 and 3.30pm for a crafty workshop for children age 6+. All materials will be supplied by the publisher. Please indicate your interest by joining the guestlist on Facebook.

1.30  - 3.30pm, Saturday 17 - Sunday 18, Mr Feather’s Den (back room), 19 Fitzherbert St, free entry


Pop-up Songs around Featherston Booktown

The Songbirds & Take Note Singers will serenade you between booksellers


Workshops @ St Teresa's School:


How to make a Book – Bookbinding workshops & demonstrations

Robyn Ramsden believes that books are forever items, repaired and cared for through generations.  She’s a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and during a Medieval re-enactment saw that the costumed characters only had modern notepads on which to take notes.  Robyn taught herself the art and bound her first books in 2005.  Since then she’s started her own business, Athena Bookbinding, specializing in Medieval and Renaissance-styles, producing gorgeous leather-clad books.  Robyn and her associates will talk about and show how books are made and repaired.

Saturday 17 - Sunday 18, 10am – 12 noon, St Teresa’s School, 63 Bell St, free entry


Magazine Secrets

Join children's magazine editor Johanna Knox and popular illustrator Giselle Clarkson for expert insights into creating a children's magazine. They will talk about the fun adventures to be had, as well as the traps to watch out for. You might even learn how to create a board game, and get a cartoon drawing lesson!

Johanna Knox is the editor of Forest & Bird's science and nature magazine for children, Wild Things. As well as editing it, she writes articles and a short fiction mystery series for it - and devises games and puzzles.  Giselle Clarkson is a favourite illustrator in Wild Things. She does other freelance work too: drawings for children, drawings for grown-ups, editorial illustrations, prints and COMICS!

Saturday 17, 12 noon - 2pm, St Teresa's School, 63 Bell St., free entry


For the Love of Letterpress

Traditional letterpress survives today in the hands of hobbyists and limited edition fine printers. Cobblestones Museum Printing Works in Greytown has been demonstrating the craft of hand typesetting and printing for five years. Group visits particularly from schools, and full day workshops are a feature of the Printing Works. Visitors to Featherston Booktown will be able to print a souvenir on a table top press and 90 minute workshops by the Printer at Cobblestones, Tony King will enable visitors to experience the process from typesetting to printing. Tony's assistant, Meg Prebble, creates exquisite marbled paper - typical of the isinde covers of historic books.  Meg will show us how it's made.

Saturday 17 - Sunday 18, 10am – 4pm, St Teresa’s School, 63 Bell St, free entry


Rare & Antique Book Roadshow

A regular presenter at Clunes Booktown in Victoria, Professor John Arnold of Melbourne is attending Featherston Booktown and will assess book values for that "rare copy I have in my bookcase which must be worth sqillions". John is a long serving member of the Committee of the Victorian Branch of the Book Collectors’ Society of Australia and has been collecting books for over thirty-five years. His many publications include a history of the Fanfrolico Press, Satyrs, Fauns and Fine Books published in the UK by the Private Libraries Association in 2009.  

Saturday 17 - Sunday 18, 10.30am, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room), Saturday 17 - Sunday 18, free entry


Theatre @ Senior Citizens' Hall:


The Bookbinder, from award-winning company, Trick of the Light

Theatre for all the family - a story of mystery, magic and mayhem, inspired by the works of Chris Van Allsburg, Neil Gaiman and Joy Cowley. The Bookbinder weaves shadowplay, paper art, puppetry and music into an inventive performance for adventurous adults and curious children.

Saturday 17, 11am, 3pm, Sunday 18, 2pm, 4.30pm, Senior Citizens’ Club (Main Hall), 6 Lyon St.  To book, go to Kokomai Creative Festival


Writers & speakers:


Colin Morris

Colin has opened up many a Kiwi’s ears to music.  His passion and knowledge of the subject have been honed since he got into the industry in the 1960s.  He’s a familiar face and a familiar voice to us all, from owning his own shop for 30 years to appearing regularly on radio, TV and in the Dominion Post.  He’s one of the country’s music gurus, a taste-meister and a trendsetter.  Along with his love of music Colin’s collected over 1000 books, especially about Jazz and Blues and he’ll bring some rarities  to illustrate his recollections.

Saturday 17, 9.30am, Senior Citizens’ Club (Retro Back Room), 6 Lyon St., free entry


Double or nothing!

By day, she's Judy Knighton, mild-mannered plain English specialist, fighting a war on business jargon and complex documents. But she has a double identity. By night, she transforms into Jude Knight, writer of Amazon bestselling historical romances and thrillers.  Join Featherstonian writer, Jude, to hear about the synergies and conflicts between her two writing careers. See some of the worst and best New Zealand commercial writing has to offer.  Enjoy stories from the coalface of independent publishing in today's bazillion-book marketplace.  Jude Knight writes strong determined heroines, heroes who appreciate them, villains you'll love to hate, and all with a leavening of humour.

Saturday 17, 11am, Featherston Library, 74 Fitzherbert St., free entry


Friends of Kapiti Libraries

Kapiti-based children’s publisher Greet Pauwelijn will be talking about the role and importance for libraries and communities to have their Friends of the Libraries Group. Greet is the social media specialist for the Friends of the Kapiti Coast District Libraries.  Join us to find out what it implies to set up your own group. In the meantime feel free to visit the FOL’s Facebook page, here:

Saturday 17, 12 noon, Featherston Library, 74, Fitzherbert St., free entry


ANZAC Songs That Touch Your Heart!

David Dell, archivist and music historian with Musical Heritage NZ, is a leading authority on the ANZAC songs of WW1 and WW11.  Far from a dry academic exercise, David’s quick wit and sharp eye for detail, his consummate skill as a singer/musician, and the passion with which he brings the stories of these heritage songs to life evokes deep pride in Kiwi souls.  David’s one-hour one-man-show is sure to touch your heart and rest long in your memory.  Whatever you do this weekend, don’t miss his performance

Saturday 17, 1pm and Sunday 18, 1pm, Messines, 57 Fox St., free entry, but paying bar & buffet lunch


How to Become a Book Collector

John Arnold has been involved in the second-hand book trade as a dealer and collector for over forty years.  In this talk he will use this vast experience to shed light on the world of book collecting, covering topics such as: what is a book collector, collecting terminology, the physical make-up of books, how and where to find and buy books, and understanding seller descriptions.   

Saturday 17, 1.30pm, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room), free entry


Jane Tolerton

Dr Agnes Bennett, Miles Franklin - and Lorna Monckton of Featherston: those we haven't remembered, introduced by Jane Tolerton, author of Ettie Rout: New Zealand's safer sex pioneer (launching September 2015) and An Awfully Big Adventure from the WW1 Oral History Archive recorded by Nicholas Boyack and Jane in the 1980s.  In her talk, Jane will explore the Australasian women who went to the war - Dr Agnes Bennett and Miles (My Brilliant Career) Franklin in Macedonia and Lorna Monckton in England and France.

Saturday 17, 1.30pm, Senior Citizens’ Club (Retro Back Room), 6 Lyon St., free entry


Leadership in Aotearoa, A Panel Discussion

A panel of eminent New Zealand historians and writers, chaired by New Zealand Book Council Chair, Peter Biggs, will explore the extraordinary leaders who have emerged in Aotearoa New Zealand in times of conflict - both here and around the world. This will be an absorbing conversation about some of New Zealand's acclaimed leaders and about the circumstances that shaped their character and success. It will also investigate whether there is a distinctive Kiwi leadership style and how that applies today in sport, politics and business.

Saturday 17, 3.00pm, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room), 62 Bell St., free entry


Anneleise Hall

Anneleise’s earliest yearnings were to be an archaeologist and discover hidden tombs, mummies and pyramids. Some promising efforts toward a rebellious late-teen yearning for rockstardom were later abandoned for real jobs, and a growing passion for media and community.  A wide range of roles, projects, stories and creative activities filled ensuing years until a spontaneous urge to undertake a random odyssey became an epic adventure. Anneleise found herself deep in rural Wairarapa observing sheepdogs in their natural habitat, writing and creating art. She delights in discovering what doggies really do and particularly ponders the pungent poetry of poo.  Bring your young ones and hear Anneleise’s observations on The Secret Lives of Sheepdogs.

Saturday 17, 4.30pm, Senior Citizens’ Club (Retro Back Room), 6 Lyon St., free entry


Owen Marshall, in collaboration with Wairarapa Word

Owen’s a renowned short story writer and novelist, who worked for more than 25 years as a teacher before retiring to work full time as a writer. Many critics rank Marshall among the finest, if not the finest, of New Zealand’s short story writers. His novel Harlequin Rex (1999) won the 2000 Deutz Medal for Fiction at the Montana Book Awards. His writing has been extensively anthologised and he has edited several collections of New Zealand short stories. He has received numerous honours, awards and fellowships for his work. In 2000 became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to literature and in 2012 became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). In 2013 Marshall was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement.

Sunday 18, 11.30am ,Senior Citizens’ Club (Retro Back Room), 6 Lyon St., free entry


Vivienne Plumb, in collaboration with Wairarapa Word

Vivienne is a playwright, poet and fiction writer. Her writing is known to highlight the fantastic and miraculous in everyday experience. She has won numerous awards for her writing, and has been the recipient of key fellowships and residencies. Her plays have been performed in New Zealand and international venues, and The Diary as a Positive in Female Adult Behavior has been translated into Polish. Plumb's first novel, Secret City, was published in 2003. Plumb has held several residencies, including one in 2004 at the University of Iowa and the 2006 Massey University writers' residency. She has a BA and an MA from Victoria University in Wellington, and holds a Doctorate in Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong, Australia.

Sunday 18, 12.30pm, Senior Citizens’ Club (Retro Back Room), 6 Lyon St., free entry


A history of conflict, the Kiwi story – A Panel Discussion

Booktown Featherston Chair, Lincoln Gould facilitates a panel discussion on the books that have recorded the histories of war. He will be joined by prominent New Zealand military historians, including Dr Chris Pugsley.  Featherston’s historic association with both the first and second world wars provides a perfect backdrop to explore the role books have played in illuminating New Zealand’s involvement in conflict at home and overseas and how these books themselves have influenced  kiwi’s views of themselves.  With new books appearing frequently as the anniversaries of both the First and Second World Wars roll along, Lincoln has been busy reviewing them on

Sunday 18, 1.30pm, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room), 62 Bell St., free entry


Kate De Goldi

Kate De Goldi writes fiction for all ages. She has been the recipient of the Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award and twice winner of New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year. Her novel, The Ten PM Question, won the Corine International Book Prize in 2011 and has been translated into many languages. Kate is a regular reviewer in print and broadcast media and teaches creative writing in schools through New Zealand. Her new novel is From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle.

Sunday 18, 3pm, Featherston Library, 74 Fitzherbert St., free entry


Some Songs Our Soldiers Sang

David Dell’s Take Note Singers have been presenting their musical magic to Wellington audiences for more than 13 years.  With 250 singers spread over five groups, what draws them together is an abiding passion for songs that move the world.  This Saturday, David presents 20 of his singers as a pop-up-group at roadside venues throughout the town, sharing three songs that were part of the heart-beat of our WW1 soldiers who marched through this town on their journey from Featherston to Trentham and on to the front. 

Saturday 17 - Sunday 18, around town




Diary of events:


Friday 16 

7.30pm, Fish & Chips Supper, Tarureka Estate


Saturday 17

all day, Literary Treasure Trails, around town

9.30am, Colin Morris, Senior Citizens' Hall (Retro Back Room)

10am - 4pm For the Love of Letterpress, St Teresa's School

10am - 12 noon, How to Make a Book, St Teresa's School

10am - 4pm, Donate Books for Vanuatu, 29 Fitzherbert St

10.30am, Rare & Antique Book Roadshow, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room)

11am, Double or Nothing!, Featherston Library

11am, The Bookbinder, Senior Citizens' Club (Main Hall)

11am, Tour of Tarureka Estate with Hamish Donald, Tarureka Estate

12 noon, Friends of Kapiti Libraries, Featherston Library

12 noon - 2pm Magazine Secrets, St Teresa's School

1pm, ANZAC Songs That Touch Your Heart, Messines

1pm, Tour of Tarureka Estate with Hamish Donald, Tarureka Estate

1.30pm, How to Become a Book Collector, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room)

1.30pm, Jane Tolerton, Senior Citizens' Hall (Retro Back Room)

1.30  - 3.30pm, Crafty Workshop for Kids (6+), Mr Feather’s Den (back room)

3pm, Leadership in Aotearoa, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room)

3pm, The BookbinderSenior Citizens’ Club (Main Hall)

4.30pm, Anneleise Hall, Senior Citizens' Hall (Retro Back Room)


Sunday 18

all day, Literary Treasure Trails, around town

10am - 12 noon, How to Make a Book, St Teresa's School

10am - 4pm, For the Love of Letterpress, St Teresa's School

10am - 4pm, Donate Books for Vanuatu, 29 Fitzherbert St

10.30am, Rare & Antique Book Roadshow, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room)

11.30am, Owen Marshall, Senior Citizens' Club (Retro Back Room)

12.30pm, Vivienne Plumb, Senior Citizens' Club (Retro Back Room)

1pm, ANZAC Songs That Touch Your Heart, Messines

1pm, Tour of Tarureka Estate with Hamish Donald, Tarureka Estate

1.30  - 3.30pm, Crafty Workshop for Kids (6+), Mr Feather’s Den (back room)

1.30pm, A History of Conflict, the Kiwi story, ANZAC Hall (Supper Room)

2pm, The Bookbinder, Senior Citizens' Club (Main Hall)

3pm, Kate De Goldi, Featherston Library

4.30pm, The BookbinderSenior Citizens’ Club (Main Hall)




Fish & Chips Supper
How to Make a Book
Magazine Secrets
For the Love of Letterpress
The Bookbinder
Colin Morris
Double or Nothing!
Friends of Kapiti Libraries
ANZAC Songs That Tourch Your Heart!
Jane Tolerton
A history of conflict
Anneleise Hall
Owen Marshall
Vivienne Plumb
Rare & antique
Kate De Goldi
How to Become a Book Collector
Literary Treasure Trails
Rare & Antique Book Roadshow
How to
Crafty workshop
Leadership in Aotearoa
Some songs
Diary of events
Anchor 24
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