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Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival 2023
Young Readers Programme in Schools

View the Young Readers Programme Timetable

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Pou Mahara at Papawai Marae with Warren Maxwell and Laura Keenan

Event postponed owing to Teachers strike on Wednesday 10 May 2023. Will update with a new date and time soon.

Papawai Marae


The pou of Papawai stand tall and steadfast, facing inwards they have stood guard over our marae for 119 years. They face inwards as a symbol of peace. They also face inwards as a silent reminder that sometimes when seeking peace, the most important battles we will face will come from within. Our pou are carved out of Totara from huge forests that were felled to create the farmlands we now know as Wairarapa. Each pou represents a rangatira with connections to Papawai, Wairarapa and the Kotahitanga movement. Students will hear the stories of why the Pou face inwards and then work with Lauren Keenan and Warren Maxwell to draft stories and a waiata celebrating these stories.  

8–10 June 2022

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Red Bus Goes to the Beach with Chris Candy

Wednesday - Friday

10 - 12 May 2023
Various times

Greytown Kindergarten

Greytown School Y1 & Y2

Bell Street Featherston

South Featherston School

St Teresa's School

Martinborough Kindergarten

Martinborough School Y1 & Y2

Our favourite red bus is back, and this time it is off to the beach! In this event, sponsored by Tranzit Coachlines, Chris will delight young people around the Wairarapa with his latest picture book. Through Comet’s world, students will hear about how buses are an exciting way to travel, and how they are instrumental in a more sustainable future. 

8–10 June 2022

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Speed Date an Illustrator with Gavin Bishop,
Martin Baynton, Lily Uiv
el and Rose Northey


Thursday 11 May 2023
9:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Anzac Hall, Featherston

Lucky art and design students will learn how to bring stories to life through illustration, with four workshops from incredible artists and illustrators. Whether it is illustrating your own or providing pictures for another person’s story – students will be taught how to be both inspired by and enhance words on a page when creating images, and different methods of drawing for literature and writing. We hope this event will also inspire students to pursue a career in design and illustration.

8–10 June 2022

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Slam Poetry with 

Te Kahu Rolleston,

Rose Northey,

Amy GL Atkins and

Tarns Hood

Friday 12 May 2023
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Wairarapa College

Midday – 2:15 PM

Makoura College

One of our most successful events of the Young Readers Programme 2022 is back! Four amazing poets will be working with 300 students to debunk myths of the “traditional poem”, and to help them find and share their voice by creating slam poetry. Slam Poetry encourages people to use their bodies and words to tell their stories. This year’s performance artists will incorporate elements of rap, kapa haka, comedy, and spoken word to empower students to share their truths about their lives, their bodies, and the world around them.  

8–10 June 2022

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Poetry Workshop with Sam Duckor-Jones

Friday 12 May 2023
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM &

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
Anzac Hall, Featherston


Gloria of Greymouth is coming to Featherston, and poet and artist Sam Duckor-Jones will ensure she is just as loud and proud on our soil, with wonderful workshops for local LGBTQ+ and takatāpui rangitahi. Sam’s workshops will promote inclusivity, positivity, and pride through written word, performance, and art. A first for the Young Readers Programme, we are proud to provide a safe space and activities for our rainbow youth – particularly in a more rural context, where access to rainbow resources and activities can be limited. 

8–10 June 2022

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Speed Date an Digital Writer with Ellie Franco, Millie Blackwell, Emily Writes & Te Kahukura Boynton

Wednesday 10 May 2023
9:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Anzac Hall, Featherston

Students will gain an understanding of what it means to tell stories digitally, through four workshops with some of Aotearoa’s most celebrated digital content creators. Ellie Franco will demonstrate video journalism, Mille Blackwell will highlight branding and digital marketing through social media, Emily Writes will discuss digital newsletters (such as Substack) and how to build a crowd of cheerleaders for your writing, while Te Kahukura will share some of her Māori Millionaire principles and how she became a digital entrepreneur using blogs, vlogs, and social media. Students will be exposed to more modern concepts of writing, and ways to monetise writing as a career or lucrative hobby, through hands on workshops with our experts.  

8–10 June 2022

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Event for Teachers with Channelle Moriah

Wednesday 10 May 2023
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Featherston School

In a first for the Young Readers Programme, Chanelle will be leading a workshop and Q&A for teachers. Chanelle will discuss their experiences as a neurodivergent learner, and how teachers can support students with Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and Pathological Demand Avoidance, followed by a Q&A.  

8–10 June 2022

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Financial Literacy
with Te Kahukura,Boynton
(Māori Millionaire)


Thursday 11 May 2023
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Kuranui College

Te Kahukura Boynton has been faithfully documenting her journey of learning financial independence and empowerment for Māori people and communities, in a bid to share knowledge and resources on personal finance, investing, and self-development. Through vlogs, blogs, social media, newsletters, podcasts, and speaking engagements, the Māori Millionaire is advocating for young people to get a better understanding of finance, in an accessible and inspiring way. 

8–10 June 2022

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Playwrighting Workshop with Victor Rodger

Friday 12 May 2023

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM &
10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Kuranui College

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

St Teresa's School 

One of Aotearoa’s most prolific and celebrated playwrights will be working with young people to put the fun in the fundamentals of playwrighting. Victor will be sharing his experiences of growing up and forging a career in the entertainment industry. He will share how he turns his experiences into thought provoking and engaging masterpieces for performance and production, and the skills involved in writing words for other actors to bring to life.

8–10 June 2022

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The Light Library with Emma Hinton

Friday 12 May 2023
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM

Meta Riddiford Featherston

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Bell Street Featherston

Emma Hinton’s The Light Library combines collaborative art making and storytelling, to encourage and nurture curiosity about our world and community. Through foraging and making, Emma creates a space for children to use found objects to make stories and art, drawing inspiration from the natural world. 

8–10 June 2022

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Get Outdoors with Paul Adamson

Wednesday 10 May 2023

3 sessions

Carterton School

Gladstone School

Martinborough School

Get inspiration for beating boredom by exploring and engaging with the outdoors! Students will experience some easy activities and hear about how they and their whānau can get more involved with the natural world, and the positive impact this can have on their wellbeing, imagination, and education. 

8–10 June 2022

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Becoming an Author with Aaron Topp

Thursday 11 May 2023
10:00 AM – 11:0
0 AM

Chanel College

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Wairarapa College

Reading and writing are often spoken about in the same breath – but what if you are a reluctant reader? Can you still write? Aaron certainly thinks so! Aaron will talk about his experiences growing up, and how his love of sports and surfing has inspired him to write books for young adults. These workshops will hopefully inspire young people (particularly young men) to communicate their passions through the written word. 


8–10 June 2022

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Pae Tū Mōkai O Tauira:
Life in the Shallows
Warren Maxwell
and Ra Smith


Thursday 11 May 2023
9:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Kuranui College & South Wairarapa Schools


Based on the book LIfe in the Shallows by Monica Peters and Karen Denyer, this event weaves mātauranga Māori with Western science knowledge to engage ākonga in critical conversations and activities that emphasise the unique cultural and sciencific value of Wairarapa Moana. It is the largest wetland complex in the lower North Island and has been regonised as a wetland of international significance.  

We hope to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of this unique and special place, inspring a new generation of citizen scientists. Ākonga will learn about specific cultural and scientific monitoring and restoration efforts designed to restore the mauri of our wetlands. They will listen to mana whenua stories of the Moana, hear music from taonga pūoro created with materials foraged from the lake shore and discover the secrets of raising native trees from seed. 

8–10 June 2022

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Book Reading/Q&A Workshop and Afternoon Writing Workshop with Melanie Drewery

Friday 12 May 2023
9:15 AM – 10:15 AM

Featherston School (3 schools)

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Pirinoa School

Lucky primary school students in the South Wairarapa will be treated to some readings by Children’s Author, Melanie Drewery – best known for her Nanny Mihi stories. Melanie’s stories promote representation of Māori in children’s stories and incorporate tikanga Māori in a way that is inclusive and accessible for all young people. A Q&A for students and teachers will follow her readings, in these exciting events. 

8–10 June 2022

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Making Stories Come to Life with Heather Haylock

Friday 12 May 2023
:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Kahutara School

Heather Haylock grew up with a love of writing, and as an intermediate student wrote and illustrated her first picture book. Now, she is a published author of multiple picture books and stories for young people – most notably the Granny McFlitter series. In this event, Heather will share her stories with students, and teach them how to bring their own ideas to the page and beyond.  

8–10 June 2022

Programme in Wairarapa Schools for pre-schoolers to senior secondary students.  10 – 12 May 2023.

Note: These events are not open to the general public.

A massive thank you to our wonderful sponsors of the Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival 2023 Young Readers Programme

Papawai Marae
Pae Tū Mōkai o Tauira
South Wairarapa Rotary
Chicken and Frog Bookshop
Read NZ Te Pou Maramara
GNS Science - Te Pū Ao
REAP Wairarapa
South Wairarapa District Council
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