New role to champion reading for children

  • Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
  • Hon Tracey Martin
Prime Minister Children

A new role of New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people is being established, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Internal Affairs and for Children, Tracey Martin announced today.

The Reading Ambassador, announced at a Celebration of Reading event at the National Library in Wellington, will advocate for and promote the importance of reading in the lives of young New Zealanders, their whānau and communities, helping create a ‘nation of readers’.

“We know from research that reading for pleasure makes a huge difference to a child’s wellbeing and their potential for life-long success - in personal relationships, education, health and employment,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“The most recent OECD Programme for International Students assessment (PISA) results also show a marked decline in reading for pleasure, with nearly half of New Zealand 15-year olds never reading for enjoyment.

“This makes it important for us to find ways to support educators, families and whānau to build and sustain reading cultures in their communities, at the same time contributing to the Government’s wider efforts on child wellbeing and poverty reduction,” Jacinda Arden said.

The establishment of the New Zealand Reading Ambassador for children and young people is another step to creating a ‘nation of readers’, something that is widely agreed as important across the literary, education, library and cultural sectors, Tracey Martin said.

“Just as importantly, though, it simply promotes reading and we all know what a difference the right book can make in the life of a child or young person,” Tracey Martin said.

The inaugural NZ Reading Ambassador will be appointed part time for two years, funded by Te Puna Foundation and supported by National Library in collaboration with key partners, including Creative NZ and ReadNZ. The nomination process will be confirmed shortly.