Book with a shark drawing on it and the words, this book belongs to: te mana o te kupu,, read share show south Dunedin.

South Dunedin communities of readers project

The South Dunedin community is working together to increase the number of young readers inspired to read for pleasure and well-being, the project is called ‘Read Share Grow’.

South Dunedin community of readers

The South Dunedin community is working together to increase the number of young readers inspired to read for pleasure and well-being, the project is called ‘Read Share Grow’. The focus is children aged 3 to 7 — a period of transition from early learning environments to primary school. Phase two, from mid-2021 will include children up to age 12, an important age of transition from primary/intermediate school to secondary.

The vision for the project is to strengthen the communities by reading together.

The partners in the project, working with many local community organisations, services and businesses are:

  • distributing books to tamariki in South Dunedin
  • running a targeted public communications campaign about the value of reading for pleasure and wellbeing
  • providing support and professional development for schools and ECEs who are important conduits for the project
  • contributing to local community events and offering programmes and activities for whānau.

Read Share Grow

A communications campaign for the project, Read Share Grow | Te Mana o te Kupu, was developed in Dunedin with a strong local theme that acknowledges the area, land, water, and community. Influenced by Pasifika and Māori, the design pays tribute to the founders of the land as well as representing all cultures in South Dunedin.

Its messages about the joys and benefits of reading include:

  • Te mana o te kupu: The power of the word
  • He iwi Pānui: A tribe of readers
  • Read Books, Share Stories, Grow Together
  • Read, share, laugh
  • Read, share, love
  • Read, share, learn.

Read Share Grow — project website
Read Share Grow – Children’s books for South Dunedin — a blog post about the project.

Follow Read Share Grow:

• Facebook —
• Instagram —

Project partners

Partners working with National Library in the South Dunedin project include:

  • Dunedin City Council, including the Dunedin Public Library and UNESCO Dunedin City of Literature
  • Ministry of Education Otago/Southland Regional Directorate
  • Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou and Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki
  • Methodist Mission Southern

The distribution of books

By September 2021, more than 15,000 books had been distributed in the South Dunedin area through schools, early childhood centres, businesses, community groups and events. Book distribution will continue during phase two.

Community engagement

During phase one, the project has engaged and connected with more than 120 local community organisations. The partners also attended local events and organised hui for whānau and educators in the South Dunedin community. These were opportunities to distribute books, share information about reading for pleasure and reading with children, and to invite and discuss ideas for the project.

Phase two will include more professional development opportunities for school staff and ECE educators.

South Dunedin project research report

You can find out more about the first phase of the project and early findings in the South Dunedin Community of Readers report by Point Associates, Lead researcher, Alex Woodley; May 2021.

Covering the period from mid-2019 to April 2021, it focuses on:

  • the ambitions of the South Dunedin Community of Readers project
  • what the project achieved
  • early outcomes, and
  • what we have learned, in particular success factors and challenges that might help others establish a community of readers.

Read the South Dunedin Communities of Readers Project report