New Survey Finds That Almost 400,000 Kiwis Are Not Reading


A new survey into New Zealanders’ reading habits confirms not only are we a nation that loves to read – we devour an average of 20.6 books a year – but also a nation that loves to read our own stories. Almost 50% of Kiwi adult survey respondents read at least one book by a New Zealand author in the past 12 months. The majority of us read for relaxation and enjoyment, and our favourite fiction genres are crime, thriller and adventure stories.

But not all the findings were positive. The survey also reveals that 394,000 Kiwi adults did not read (or even start to read) a book in the last 12 months. 31% say they don’t have time to read, 24% say they don’t enjoy reading, and 16% say they feel it is easier to watch movies based on a book.

“It is brilliant to see that so many Kiwis love to read. However, it is very alarming that almost half a million people in Aoteaora did not read a book in the past 12 months. The increasing demands of society and work mean more than ever New Zealanders need to understand and apply information across a range of sources in order to function effectively at work and everyday life.  Reading is the critical foundation for all types of literacy,” says Book Council Chief Executive Jo Cribb.

New Zealand Book Council Patron Albert Wendt ONZ CNZM says that “getting reading on the national agenda is a crucial step in breaking the poverty cycle in New Zealand. There are already some excellent initiatives out there such as the Book Council’s Writers in Schools and Writers in Communities programmes, but more needs to be done. Encouraging reading, particularly reading for pleasure, is critical to ensure all New Zealanders can be part of our nation’s prosperity.”

The Book Reading in New Zealand survey was conducted by Horizon Research for the New Zealand Book Council. It is available at The Book Council will use the insights from this research to enhance its existing strategies for increasing the number of lifelong readers for pleasure, and for encouraging greater consumption of New Zealand fiction. It will also share the findings with the wider industry, including publishers, booksellers and media.

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