Announcing our Summer Reading Adventure Prize-Winners!

The winners themselves have known for a couple of weeks, but the day has finally come — it’s time for us to publicly announce the Grand Prize winners of the 2023-24 Summer Reading Adventure!

Of course, everyone who took part is a winner in some way — whether you won badges, books, stationery, vouchers, or just the eternal respect and admiration of your peers, your fearless ventures into the Land of Literature have not gone unrewarded. In fact, during the Summer Reading Adventure, our librarians gave out 2,270 prizes to intrepid word explorers across our fair city.

Some of these prizes came along with another, hidden prize — the opportunity to put your name in the hat to win one of the Grand Prizes. There were 10 Grand Prizes up for grabs in total — four for kids, three for teens, and another three for adults. Our lucky prize-winners are listed below:


Grand Prize #1 – Into the Wild

Winner: Natalie, age 8, from St Benedict’s School and Tari-kākā | Khandallah Library

Prize description:

  • 1x family pass to Staglands Wildlife Reserve and Cafe
  • 1x family pass to Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne
  • 1x family pass to Wellington Zoo
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!

Grand Prize #2 – Science and Wonder

Winner: Michelle, age 6, from Wadestown School and Ōtari | Wadestown Library

Prize description:

  • 1x family pass to the Wētā Cave Workshop Experience
  • Activity books from Te Papa Press
  • A NeoBear AR Globe
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!

Grand Prize #3 – Ultimate Artistry

Winner: Alin, age 12, from St Catherine’s College and Ngā Puna Waiora | Newtown Library

Prize description:

  • A selection of high-quality artistic stationery from Gordon Harris
  • A NeoBear AR Globe
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!

Grand Prize #4 – Books and More!

Winner: Abhirup, age 9, from Amesbury School and Waitohi | Johnsonville Library

Prize description:

  • A Summer Reading book bundle from Gecko Press
  • A voucher for Unity Books
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!


Grand Prize #5 – Books, Books, Books!

Winner: Rebecca, age 15, from Wellington Girls’ College and Waitohi | Johnsonville Library

Prize description:

  • A voucher for Unity Books
  • A voucher for a VIP experience at Te Pātaka, the site of our Central Library collection
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!

Grand Prize #6 – Artistic Endeavours

Winner: Penelope, age 13, from Waitohi | Johnsonville Library

Prize description:

  • A voucher for Gordon Harris Fine Art Supplies
  • A voucher for 3D printing and lasercutting services at Tūhura | The HIVE in Johnsonville
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!

Grand Prize #7 – Games and More

Winner: TJ, age 15, from St Patrick’s College and Te Awa-a-Taia | Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library

Prize description:

  • 20x tokens for experiences at Ye Olde Pinball Shoppe
  • 1x family pass to the Wētā Cave Workshop Experience
  • A voucher for Cerberus Games and a set of artisan gaming dice
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!


Grand Prize #8 – Books and Blockbusters

Winner: Doreen from Te Awa-a-Taia | Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library

Prize description:

  • A voucher for Unity Books
  • Double pass to Light House Cinema movie screening
  • A voucher for a VIP experience at Te Pātaka, the site of our Central Library collection
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!

Grand Prize #9 – Cultural Capital

Winner: Alex from Waitohi | Johnsonville Library

Prize description:

  • Double pass to a show at Circa Theatre
  • Double pass to a show presented by the Wellington Footlights Society
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!

Grand Prize #10 – Sonic Wonderland

Winner: Moriah from Te Awe Brandon Street Library

Prize description:

  • Double pass to a concert in Orchestra Wellington’s The Story season
  • Selection of recent CD releases from Rattle Records
  • Assorted locally-made goodies, including chocolate!

Massive congratulations to all our winners!

Thank you as well to all of our wonderful sponsors for their support of this year’s Summer Reading Adventure. In no particular order: Ben & Jerry’s WellingtonCirca TheatreGecko PressLight House CinemaOffice Max NZOrchestra WellingtonRattle RecordsRead NZ Te Pou MuramuraStaglands Wildlife Reserve and CafeUnity Books, the Wellington Footlights SocietyWētā WorkshopYe Olde Pinball ShoppeZealandia Te Māra a Tāne, and Wellington Zoo. Ngā mihi to you all for helping us help you keep reading over the summer!

But most of all, thank you and congratulations to everyone who took part! As we’ve noted before, you have positively blown our socks off with your reading and we couldn’t be prouder of you all. See you for the next Adventure!

The Summer Reading Adventure Has Concluded!

Kia ora readers and writers, quest-takers, and Adventurers of all stripes! The 2023/24 Summer Reading Adventure is officially over, and it’s fair to say that we have been absolutely blown away by your exploits over the summer. We will be announcing our Grand Prize winners over the next week or so, so do keep an eye out on this blog and on our social media for more on this!

Here are some very impressive numbers for those who are that way inclined:

  • 1,715 intrepid Adventurers participated in the Summer Reading Adventure this year
  • Together, you read 22,910 books — that’s one book every 3 minutes and 53 seconds!
  • You also created 7,692 book reviews — some of you even chose to make videos, write poems, or make dioramas based on the books you read!
  • You completed 5,006 quests — some of them in our libraries, others in your own home, and others still out in the city, making this the most adventure-filled Adventure yet!
  • Together, you earned and collected 2,270 prizes for your efforts, including ice cream vouchers, stationery, books, book vouchers, and much more, thanks to our generous sponsors.

We are also extremely excited to announce that Seatoun School is the official winner of this year’s School Prize, with 45.9% of their school roll, or 169 students, signing up for and taking part in Summer Reading. Ka rawe, Seatoun School! They have won a free visit from a Wellington author or illustrator of their choice, courtesy of our kind and generous friends at Read NZ Te Pou Muramura. We can’t wait to see which lucky creator gets to visit them!

Finally, we would like to thank all of our wonderful sponsors for their support of this year’s Summer Reading Adventure. In no particular order: Ben & Jerry’s Wellington, Circa Theatre, Gecko Press, Light House Cinema, Office Max NZ, Orchestra Wellington, Rattle Records, Read NZ Te Pou Muramura, Staglands Wildlife Reserve and Cafe, Unity Books, the Wellington Footlights Society, Wētā Workshop, Ye Olde Pinball Shoppe, Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne, and Wellington Zoo. Ngā mihi to you all for helping us help you keep reading over the summer!

That’s it for now — thank you for a wonderful summer, and we’ll see you again next year!


If you’ve been doing the Summer Reading Adventure then you might have hunted around your local library to find hidden dinosaurs as part of the Library of Adventure challenge. Or if you’ve been hanging out in Pōneke then you might have seen ads for the new Dinosaurs of Patagonia exhibition at Te Papa. So let’s dive into the wonderful, weird, and even a little bonkers world of dinosaurs.

What are dinosaurs?

Assembled skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex, focused on the skull.

A scary T-Rex has been humbled by the passage of time.

While dinosaurs are famous from movies like Jurassic Park and iconic childhood shows like The Land Before Time there is more to them than how they are pictured on the big screen. For example, dinosaurs get a bad rep for being carnivorous monsters in movies but most of them (65%) were actually herbivores who had plant-based diets long before veganism became cool. And, even though The Land Before Time features some cool dinosaurs, some of them didn’t even exist at the same time! (Littlefoot is an apatosaurus, a species which lived nearly 80 million years before the saurolophus species that Ducky belonged to).

Anyway, dinosaurs are extinct (that means they aren’t around anymore) reptiles which roamed the earth between 251 and 65 million years ago! The three main periods when dinosaurs lived are: the Triassic period (251 – 200 million years ago), the Jurassic period (200 – 145 million years ago) and the Cretaceous period (145 – 65 million years ago) which are collectively known as the Mesozoic Era.  Defining characteristics of dinosaurs include that they had tails, laid eggs, lived on land, had two holes in the skull behind each eye, and the term dinosaur does not include the animals which flew or swam during the same period.

How do we learn about dinosaurs?

Nine dinosaur eggs fossilized in dirt.

Thankfully no mad scientist can use these to reincarnate dinosaurs, but they look cool.

Scientists called palaeontologists study fossils (the preserved remains of ancient creatures) to figure out what the earth was like thousands, and even millions of years ago. Even though Aotearoa might seem far away and difficult to get to for reptiles, dinosaurs still existed here because at the time they lived the world looked a lot different. During the Triassic and early Jurassic period, New Zealand (and Australia, South America, India, Africa and Antartica) were part of a supercontinent called Gondwanaland! This means dinosaurs didn’t have to swim across the Indian Ocean to find their way here, they could just walk.

For a long time people assumed that dinosaurs never roamed Aotearoa but in 1975 that changed thanks to amateur palaeontologist Joan Wiffen. Joan Wiffen, along with her husband Pont, discovered the tail bone of a theropod in 1975 and thus found proof that dinosaurs did once exist here, opening up lots of interesting and exciting scientific possibilities. Over the next three decades she discovered bones from an ankylosaur, mosasaurs, plesiosaurs and a titanosaur. If you now want to become an amateur palaeontologist yourself then you’re in luck! The library has plenty of books on dinosaurs which can help you learn more about these awesome creatures.

Books about dinosaurs:

Lots of things to know about dinosaurs / Maclaine, James
“Open this book to go back in time and meet lots of incredible dinosaurs. Featuring incredible illustrations and fun facts, this book is a great introduction to the world of dinosaurs. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dinosaurium / Murray, Lily
“This junior edition of ‘Dinosaurium’ is perfect for those with a love of the natural world. Wander the galleries — open 365 days a year — and discover a collection of curated exhibits on every page.” (Catalogue)

Fossil / Taylor, Paul D
“Packed with striking photography, Eyewitness Fossil explores the creatures and plants that lived long ago. Become an eyewitness to the natural treasures found in rocks in this picture-led reference guide that will take you on a visual tour of all things fossils. Children will be mesmerized by the bones, teeth, and plants from long ago that have all been turned to rock.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dinosaurs : the myth-busting guide to prehistoric beasts
“Discover what dinosaurs were REALLY like in this myth busting book! Find out how the real dinosaurs actually lived, looked and sounded in this fascinating book. While popular Hollywood movies have given us a simplistic view of these magnificent creatures, the latest scientific research is changing assumptions and providing a far different perspective.” (Catalogue)

Dinosaur / Lambert, David
“Meet the incredible creatures of the prehistoric world. This essential guide to dinosaurs, from tiny, chicken-sized Compsognathus to the mighty, long-necked Brachiosaurus, this book unearths fascinating facts about these prehistoric creatures. With colourful and factual illustrations, informative labels, statistics and fun-filled facts, this is the perfect all round guide for dinosaur lovers and budding palaeontologists.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Books about palaeontologists:

Dinosaur hunter : Joan Wiffen’s awesome fossil discoveries / Hill, David
“The true story of palaeontologist Joan Wiffen, whose fossil discoveries proved that dinosaurs lived in ancient New Zealand.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Paleontologists / Gibson, Karen Bush
“Discover the stories of Mary Anning, Mignon Talbot, Tilly Edinger, Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, and Mary Leakey, five female palaeontologists who thrived while making breakthrough discoveries of ancient life from millions of years ago! In Gutsy Girls Go for Science: Palaeontologists with STEM Projects for Kids, readers ages 8 to 11 do fun hands-on projects while learning about these women and the fascinating lives they led in the field and in the lab.” (Catalogue)

The fossil hunter / Winter, Kate
“Unearth the mysteries of ancient fossils and discover the life and legacy of Mary Anning in this beautifully illustrated, fact-filled book for curious young readers. Mary Anning was a fossil hunter, scouring the cliffs and seashores of Lyme Regis for strange rocks and shells. Mary’s fossils paved the way for modern palaeontology and helped to piece together a picture of how the dinosaurs lived and evolved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mary Anning / Sánchez Vegara, Ma Isabel
“When Mary was little, her family was very poor. She used to help her dad to comb for shells and bones up high on dangerous cliffs. After receiving a book as a gift from a kind benefactor, Mary learned all about fossils. She continued to hunt for them and made the startling discovery of a complete skeleton of an ichthyosaur. Sadly, she wasn’t allowed to study along with all the other men, but she carried on making her own discoveries and advising the Geological Society when they needed help. It took a lifetime to receive recognition but we all remember her now as the mother of palaeontology.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Look up! – See your library in a new way

One of the activities in our Summer Reading Adventure this season is the Upward Looking Urban Photographer, where we’ve challenged you to look upwards while out and about and notice details that you might have otherwise overlooked.

We’ve had a whole gallery of upwards-looking photos sent into us, and we thought we’d share some of our favourites with you. Maybe one of these photos was taken by you! One of these photos was even taken at one of our libraries. If you haven’t submitted a photo for this activity yet, there’s still plenty of time! The Summer Reading Adventure runs until the 31st of January.

  • What’s that perched atop the iconic Cuba St bucket fountain?
  • A familiar location for some of us! Can you identify which library this is?
  • An encompassing canopy of treetops.
  • You might need to take a second glance to see the floating sculpture here.
  • This building’s original owners may not still be here, but they made sure we’d know who they were!
  • Sunlight catching the edge of the clouds.

Inspired by this activity, we’ve taken our cameras around our libraries and pointed them upwards! In this selection of images you’ll find many artworks, interesting angles, library signage, and ceilings seen from a different perspective – it’s an exploration of library architecture!

We have many libraries scattered around Wellington and they all feature different designs and artworks. This challenge has given us the opportunity to look around our libraries with fresh eyes and rediscover the quirky and interesting parts of our spaces.

Can you figure out where the photo (or photos!) of your library was taken?

  • A rope bridge made of twine and popsicle sticks bridges the gap between two bookshelves.
    Arapaki Library
  • A plastic skeleton perches on a bookshelf with a sign reading 'Young Adult Fiction'. On the ceiling tiles above are movie posters.
    Arapaki Library
  • Spackled ceiling with inset boards meeting in a cross.
    Brooklyn Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā
  • Vaulted ceiling with triangular recessed skylights pointing inwards.
    Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako
  • Towards the library entry/exit, and internal five-sided window sits in the pointed ceiling.
    Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako
  • A large red paper flower and strings of red beads and white shells hanging from a red library sign with 'Can we help" written on it.
    Island Bay Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Tapu Te Ranga
  • Reflection of the library in the round security mirror by the door.
    Island Bay Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Tapu Te Ranga
  • Three pictures in a collage. Top: view of the children's area and the coloured triangular pieces of sound-baffling fitting in with the three-pronged lights. Centre: Looking up towards artworks by Robin Kahukiwa and Melvin Day. Bottom: Woven harakeke artwork Whetūrangi on the wall above and below a long window.
    Johnsonville Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
  • A spine-like plastic guard around power cables attaches into a ceiling tile.
    Kai Ūpoko | Library offices
  • Looking upwards at the vertical word 'Library' on a red background.
    Karori Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Three narrow windows in a white wall look out onto the street and blue sky. A conical light hangs on the left, the bottom level with the top corner of a narrow window.
    Karori Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Checkered glass tiles set in the corner of the building, photographed from the inside.
    Khandallah Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Tari-kākā
  • Natural wood balcony with stuffed aniimals liiking down, a skylight above, and long tapestry hanging to the left.
    Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga
  • Coloured paper letters spelling 'Children's Area' on the wall below small high windows with wooden blinds.
    Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga
  • A blue pillar with outreaching metal struts atop it, in front of a corner window.
    Miramar Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Motu-kairangi
  • A triangular internal window above a mural of a beach with swimming child, reading octopus, and books flying through the air. In the window, a silhouette of a librarian waves.
    Miramar Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Motu-kairangi
  • Wooden beams on the right angle up to the natural wooden ceiling. On the left a wooden taniwha attached to a colourful painted wall looks up towards the peak of the ceiling.
    Newtown Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Ngā Puna Waiora
  • A round, curved, three-dimensional artwork on the ceiling. Shades of blue, with koru like tentacles reaching out from the centre.
    Newtown Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Ngā Puna Waiora
  • The corner of the building. Orange-toned wood on the ceiling, with a large corner window looking towards a Pohutukawa tree with vibrant red flowers.
    Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-Taia
  • Up past bookshelves of children's fiction are triangular fin artworks, then above those metal beams cross the wooden ceiling.
    Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-Taia
  • Diagonal industrial beam cuts across decorated upper walls above fiction shelves
    Te Awe Library
  • Decorated 1900s eave overhanging the footpath, with a yellow 'Te Awe Library' sign hanging from it.
    Te Awe Library
  • A backless tall shelf of extra large books. Behind this shelf, seen through the gaps in the shelf, are yet more bookshelves.
    Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre
  • Square windows, photo taken looking inside. A vase of roses, a succulent, and a yellow sign with the word 'hot' peak over the windowsill.
    Te Pātaka Collection and Distribution Centre
  • A spiral cord hangs next to a skylight with a red beam across it. Blue sky with fluffy clouds outside.
    Wadestown Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari
  • Diagonal angular ceiling line, with a square light in the ceiling and recessed skylight
    Wadestown Library | Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari

One of our other Summer Reading Adventure activities challenges you to go back in time using Wellington Recollect and find an image of your library taken in decades gone by. We find it very fascinating to go and look through the pictures and see the different library layouts and different buildings there have been over the years. Can you spot anything from our upward-looking-photos in the pictures of your library on Recollect?

Summer Reading Adventure: Writing remarkable reviews

We’re almost halfway through the Summer Reading Adventure! If you haven’t already heard about the Summer Reading Adventure, you can head on over to our previous blog post for heaps more info, or jump straight into our Summer Reading website to sign up!

Through the power of books and imagination, help us transform Wellington into a fantasy wonderland this summer!

One of the activities you can complete as part of the Summer Reading Adventure is writing book reviews. There are five digital badges you can earn for writing reviews, and some of these also come with physical prizes!

There are two different kinds of reviews you can submit, written reviews and picture reviews, and we thought we’d provide you with some tips and tricks for creating an excellent and insightful review.

Tips for writing a book review:

  • Tell us what you thought about the book! We don’t want to just read a description of the plot.
  • Useful questions to ask yourself include
    • How did I feel at the beginning of the book?
    • How did I feel at the end? Was there a change?
    • Who was my favourite/least favourite character? Why?
    • Did this book give me any new ideas? If so, what are they?
    • Who else might like this book? Why?
    • If I had written this book, would I have changed anything about it? What, and why?
  • Be creative! We love to read reviews in the form of poems, short stories, reviews written with emojis.
  • Be careful with the boring things like spelling and punctuation. This isn’t school — you won’t be disqualified if you spell “discombobulated” wrong — but having good spelling and punctuation makes it easier for everyone else to understand what you mean!

Tips for creating a picture review:

  • Will you be drawing a picture, or taking a photo of something you’ve created or that reminds you of the book?
    • Tip: Other Summer Reading Adventure participants can see your reviews so if you’re making a video talking about your book and you’re concerned with online privacy, you might want to have the book in front of the camera instead of you.
  • Useful questions to ask yourself include:
    • Was there a character you really liked (or really didn’t like) that you could draw?
    • Was there an important moment in the story? Did you think something different should have happened?
    • Did this book give you any new ideas? How might you show that new idea in a picture?
  • Be creative! Draw something that represents the book, create the characters or an important scene out of LEGO, cook something that the characters ate and take a photo. We love seeing innovative ways of reviewing books!

For inspiration we’ve included a few examples of the excellent reviews that have already been submitted. These reviewers have thought about which parts of the book that made them enjoy it, and hopefully their recommendations will make you want to read these books too!

First off, we have a picture review of Camp by Kayla Miller.

Picture review of Camp. Drawn with coloured felt pens, the left side has pictures the characters Olive and Willow. The right side has a written review.

This vibrant picture review shows us the reviewer’s interpretation of the two main characters. She also explores her two favourite characters and what about those characters she likes.
Picture review by Bea

Here’s a fab review written last summer about Louis Sacher’s There’s a boy in the girl’s bathroom. This reviewer also writes about the characters, but he also writes about what the book made him feel.

This books main characters were Bradley Jeff and Carla. Bradley was a weird kid overall but he changed a lot. At the start Bradley was a big bully but at the end Bradley was still weird but he was also kind. Bradley was super sad when Carla left it made me sad too. This book is my favourite book I have ever read because I was feeling there emotions and it was like I had gotten sucked up into the book. I love this book and want to read it again sometime☺️

Review by Dion

In this review of Which way to anywhere by Cressida Cowell, the reviewer picks out two characteristics that made her really enjoy the book, the teamwork (character interactions!) and the magic throughout the story that.

This is by far one of my favourite books ever. I like how there is a lot of teamwork involved in this adventure and the magic that just spices it up perfectly. My favourite character is definitely puck!

Review by Petra

While you’re writing your reviews, don’t forget to read through other kids’ reviews too — there are thousands and thousands of them and who knows, you may just find a book you’d like to read yourself! Happy reading and reviewing!

The Bad Smell Hotel and Maps of Smell!

Earlier this year, The Cuba Press and Te Māhanga | Karori Library celebrated the book launch of The Bad Smell Hotel by father-daughter duo Rajorshi Chakraborti and Leela (age 11)!

The duo came up with the idea of the book during the 2020 lockdown, and their story is set in the not-too-distant future, where society is contending with mysterious bouts of uncontrollable farting! This book is marvellously illustrated by Dan Mills! Check out this video of the book launch!

Blurb for The Bad Smell Hotel:

It’s 2050, and the world of Jerry, Aina and Dr Winnie Ngata is very different from ours. Most humans have an easy life. There are robots to make you a smoothie, take your avatar on a VR tour of any city you like, or bring you anyone you’re missing as a hologram in front of you. But why are more and more people checking in to bad smell hotels? What is causing them to fart so much that they can’t live with their families anymore? And what on earth is a Fartbit? Bad Smell Hotel is a story to make you laugh and make you think.

The Bad Smell Hotel is available to buy at good bookstores or directly through The Cuba Press. You can also borrow The Bad Smell Hotel from our libraries!

The Summer Reading Adventure Gets Smelly!

For our 2023-2024 Summer Reading Adventure, we’ve got a very special challenge inspired by this book!

Find out how to sign-up on our Summer Reading Adventure kids’ blog post! Here’s a preview of the challenge that you can complete over on Beanstack!

The Smell-Walker’s Map

The bad smell hotel by Chakraborti, Leela

Usually, maps show us where physical places can be found. What if they showed us where smells could be found?

Today your challenge is to walk about, with your parent or caregiver, and make a map of smells! It doesn’t have to be totally accurate, just draw an approximated version of the path that you take and note down the most unique or noticeable smells that you find! Car workshop smell? Draw it in! Florist’s flower shop? Write that down! Pine needles? You got it, make that map entry!

Tell us about some of the smells that you encountered in the Capital City Questline in our Summer Reading Adventure for Kids



The Summer Reading Adventure is Here!

It’s the 1st of December, which in the land of libraries can mean only one thing — the Summer Reading Adventure has officially begun!

Through the power of reading, transform Wellington into a fantasy dreamland! Is that a phoenix soaring above the harbour?

From today until the 31st of January 2024, we’re inviting you on an adventure — an adventure that will take you from the safety and comfort of your bedroom, to locations around the city, into your back yard, down to the local library, into the pages of more than a few books, and back home again in time for tea.

Along the way, you’ll be reading books, drawing pictures and maps, taking videos, completing challenges, getting out into nature, and maybe fighting off the odd monster or two — all in the name of seeing who shall have the honour of being crowned Supreme Champion of Words, Books and Deeds. You’ll also be earning all kinds of awesome prizes for your efforts, from collectible badges to ice-cream vouchers, books, family experiences and much more!

Pick up an Adventurer’s Guide from your local library, or check it out below, to get started — or just head straight to our Summer Reading website! Don’t forget to check out our previous blog post for heaps more info about how you can take part!

Pre-Register now for the Summer Reading Adventure!

Read books, explore the city, win prizes!

The Summer Reading Adventure for Kids runs from 1 December 2023 – 31 January 2024 for children aged 5-13. Read books; write, draw or film reviews; and complete quests to earn all kinds of awesome goodies — and you’ll still be home in time for tea! Adults and teens can also take part in their own Summer Reading Adventures — visit the Summer Reading page on our website for all the info.

Through the power of books and imagination, help us transform Wellington into a fantasy wonderland this summer!

Starting on the 1st of December, you’ll be able to pick up an Adventurer’s Guide from your local library to get started. But you don’t have to wait! Head on over to our Summer Reading Adventure website to pre-register — you’ll get a sneak preview of the quests and activities you’ll be able to do, and you’ll be ready to get started immediately when the 1st of December rolls around.

Read on to find out more!

Continue reading

The Weird and Wonderful World of Cryptids!

The Summer Reading Adventure for 2023-2024 is fast approaching, and this year the SRA has an exciting new challenge for you – a chance to design and draw your very own cryptid! But what is a cryptid, you might wonder?

A cryptid is a creature or being whose existence hasn’t been proven, like the Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster. Those are two of the most famous examples, but there are actually countless cryptids out there, including some amazing creatures here in Aotearoa! Since you’ll be creating your own cryptid from scratch, let’s get inspired by some of the more well-known ones in NZ:


The Waitoreke (also known as the New Zealand otter or kaurehe) is supposedly a furry, amphibious creature the size of a cat, and accounts of this cryptid date back more than 200 years. Sightings of this creature are usually reported around the waterways of the South Island, so keep an eye out next time you go on a family road trip!

Moehau Man

Moehau Man is a large, ape-like creature said to live in the Moehau Range in the Coramandel. While some people suggest that the legend of the Moehau Man has roots in Māori mythology, or is even borrowed from the American Bigfoot, its definite origins are unknown and keen cryptozoologists (people who study and try to find cryptids) have yet to find enough proof to confirm its existence.

Fiordland Moose

Way back in 1910, a handful of moose were introduced into the South Island’s Fiordland, where they disappeared into the wilderness. Ever since, the continued existence of these creatures has been much debated. With the last proven sighting in 1953, and an entire moose antler being found in the 1970s, the whole of New Zealand has been kept guessing about these moose, and wondering if they’re still trekking around the Fiordland bush.

Canterbury Panther

The legend of the Canterbury Panther comes from regular reports and sightings of a giant black cat in the area around Canterbury. While some sceptics suggest that these sightings are of an abnormally large housecat, enough evidence remains that the Canterbury Panther is one of Aotearoa’s most famous (and plausible!) cryptids.

A black kitten with blue eyes looking up at the camera, standing inside a wicker basket.

The terrifying Canterbury Panther? Perhaps not.
Photo by 2 Bro’s Media on Unsplash.

Come down to your local library this summer to try designing your very own cryptid as part of our Summer Reading Adventure, and in the meantime, have a browse of our library’s cryptozoological collection!

Cryptid creatures : a field guide / Halls, Kelly Milner
“Cryptozoology is the study of mysterious creatures that fall between the realm of real and imaginary on the scientific spectrum. Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide offers a closer look at fifty of these amazing creatures, examining the best possible evidence for each, including scientific papers, magazine and newspaper articles, and credible eyewitness accounts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Cryptid kids [1] : the Bawk-ness Monster / Goetter, Sara
“Before she moves away to a new city, Penny wants to prove that she was truly saved from drowning by the Bawk-ness Monster but instead must rescue kidnapped cryptids from an evil collector along with Luc and K”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
Monsters : 100 weird creatures from around the world / Banville, Sarah
“From well-known and well-feared monsters like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, to the lesser-known, but just as weird and wonderful Japanese Sea Serpent and Chinese Hopping Vampires, this book is the must-have guide to monsters from all over the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Cryptid Club / Andersen, Sarah
“Do you hate social gatherings? Dodge cameras? Enjoy staying up just a little too late at night? You might have more in common with your local cryptid than you think! Enter the world of Cryptid Club, a look inside the adventures of elusive creatures ranging from Mothman to the Loch Ness Monster.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The Cryptid Club [1] : Bigfoot takes the field / Brumm, Michael C
“Lily knows better than to listen to the gossip her little brother, Henry, has heard, but when her school newspaper needs a big headline, the rumour that Bigfoot has been spotted is the best lead she’s got.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Monsters on the run / Sherry, Kevin
“Yeti Blizz Richards and his gang of cryptids set out to find a friend for Vanessa, the Loch Ness Monster, even though it means traveling back in time to the dangerous age of the Cretaceous looking for plesiosaurs–unfortunately Vanessa proves to be rather timid about meeting other dinosaurs.” (Catalogue)
Drawing monsters / Scrace, Carolyn
” This title is packed full of inspiring ideas for your child to use to create entirely new artworks of their own. Art Works are a great way to start learning how to draw. Each title features simple step-by-step instructions that are perfect for practicing guided reading.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The taniwha of Wellington Harbour / Wairama, Moira
“Whataitai and Ngake are two taniwha living in a beautiful lake, however when Ngake gets bored and decides to break free into the ocean his actions have far reaching consequences and help shape the landscape of our capital city.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Mythical monsters : mad, mischievious, mysterious creatures / Smith, Lauren
“Have you ever met a yeti, or seen Nessie hiding below the surface? There’s no proof that these creatures exist, but just in case, we’ve collected the stories of some of the biggest, baddest and oddest monsters in the world.” (Catalogue)
History’s mysteries : legend and lore : curious clues, cold cases, and puzzles from the past / Claybourne, Anna
“Interesting and curious historical legends and their background, for children”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

This blog post was written by our wonderful teen blogger,

Beth – Teen Blog (

The Summer Reading Adventure is Complete!

Greetings adventurers of great renown. The 2022-2023 Summer Reading Adventure has now finished! As your local librarians, we have been absolutely delighted to see all your achievements and creativity on display! Congratulations to all tamariki & whānau who took part.

Here are some of the numbers:

  • You read 20221 books over December and January — that’s 326 books a day, or a book every 4 and a half minutes!
  • You wrote, drew, or filmed 6447 book reviews. Many of you loved using emojis to tell us about the books you read!
  • You completed 3505 quests, from exploring and mapping the land to building forts, conducting science experiments to creating beautiful and original works of art.
  • You’ve collected 1259 prizes, including badges, books, pens, pencils and notebooks, vouchers from our wonderful friends at Ben & Jerry’s and Unity Books, and other goodies!

So many of you have picked up prizes already. From today, you can still come in to pick up prizes, but only while stocks last as we’re starting to run out of books and other goodies! Check out a small selection of some of our favourite examples of the awesome activities you did!

Protector of the Cake

Inspired by Ruth Paul’s wonderful picture book, Lion Guards The Cake we asked young people to design their dream cake, or bake it with the help of an adult!

Theo cake

Theo designed and baked this incredible dream cake!

Protector of the Cake: Deon

Deon’s basketball championship dream cake!

Reuben's cake

Reuben’s three-dimensional treat!

A Moveable Castle

Inspired by the classic kids’ novel, Howl’s Moving Castle written by Diana Wynne Jones, we challenged young people to construct a blanket fort & have a whānau picnic!

SuperJesse peaks out of a massive fort!

SuperJesse peaks out of a massive fort!

Savannah's cosy fort!

Savannah’s cosy fort!

Bree's whānau fort!

Bree’s whānau fort!

Every Leaf a Masterpiece

Drawing on the name of Ben Okri’s kids’ book, Every Leaf a Hallelujah, we asked kids to head outside and collect some leaves, flowers, or petals from the ground and use them to make collages and artworks!

Maeve's beautiful design

Maeve’s beautiful design!

Gabriel's pleasingly composed botanical piece!

Gabriel’s pleasingly composed botanical piece!

Josh's leafy triptych

Josh’s leafy triptych

That’s us for now, we’re already looking forward to the next reading adventure!