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Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival

The annual Featherston Booktown Karukatea 2022 Festival was a wild success, thanks in part to the generous funding from Eastern & Central Community Trust (ECCT).

In 2021 ECCT granted $10,000 to Featherston Booktown which enabled us to pay the salaries of the operations manager and accounts manager. This critical funding meant that key staff members could organise the Karukatea Festival, the new Young Readers Programme in Schools, and deliver 1,500 vouchers for the Book Voucher Project which went to every primary school student in the South Wairarapa.

The 2022 Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival was the most successful Festival yet. With a lineup of distinguished Aotearoa New Zealand writers (including a who’s-who of New Zealand literature: Witi Ihimaera, Joy Cowley, Dame Fiona Kidman, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Owen Marshall, Ben Brown and Vincent O’Malley), over 7,000 keen booklovers came to 50 events. The 18 booksellers in the ANZAC Hall, and the seven resident booksellers in Featherston/Pae tū Mōkai reported excellent sales and foot traffic, and the town was jumping all weekend.

Mary, yourself and your team in Featherston deserve every accolade for Booktown. It was extraordinary.” – Witi Ihimaera

The Young Readers Programme in Schools - This is a festival designed especially for students and held in schools across Wairarapa. From 8-10 June, some of New Zealand’s greatest writers, illustrators, book makers and storytellers ran 22 creative events in local schools for the school children. Over those three days, Featherston Booktown achieved their goal of engaging with 1,200 Wairarapa school students.

Our young people are the readers, writers and book-shapers of tomorrow, and ECCT’s operational funding helped us deliver the new Young Readers Programme in Schools and make the initiative a huge success,” said Peter Biggs, the Featherston Booktown Trust Chair.

The Children's Book Voucher Project - This project exceeded expectations, giving every child at a South Wairarapa primary school a $15 book voucher. Funded by donations from the Friends of Featherston Booktown, students could spend their vouchers at the festival booksellers stalls, and at South Wairarapa bookstores.

Mary Biggs, Operations Manager commented “ECCT’s generous contributions help us get closer to our goal of being a year-round literature development organisation. Thank you for helping us to keep growing and innovating, to reach towards sustainability and permanence, and to offer such a wonderful community event”.