New Zealand opens new chapter at Taiwan Book Fair

Staff Reporter

New Zealand and Taiwan were on the same page at the annual Taipei International Book Exhibition held in the capital of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

New Zealand’s pavilion at the Fair, held from February 11 to 16, 2015 at the Taipei World Trade Centre, was a star attraction, rich with our literature and art, including books, Maori carving by Nga Kete Tuku Iho carvers Arekatera Maihi and James Teepa.

More than 50,000 people visited the six-day Book Fair held under the theme, ‘Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Books,’ with 682 exhibitors from 67 countries.

Pavilion highlights

Among the highlights of the ‘New Zealand Space’ were debut of indigenous literature from Taiwan and New Zealand, the presence of Eleanor Catton, winner of the ‘Man Booker Prize’ in 2013 and an assembly of 22 authors.

Andrew Patterson, winner of the World Architecture News Award designed the New Zealand pavilion inspired by ‘Tokotoko,’ a Maori traditional walking stick.

VIP Guests

Following the official inauguration, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou visited the New Zealand pavilion, blessed earlier by Muriwai Ihakara, Senior Manager, Maori Engagement at Creative New Zealand.

New Zealand Cultural & Industrial Office in Taipei Director Si’alei Van Toor, Publishers Association of New Zealand President Sam Elworthy, author Witi Ihimaera, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright were also present at the inaugural ceremony.

Ms Catton said that she was fortunate to celebrate New Zealand’s culture and literature with other New Zealand writers and learn more about local authors.

Special features

Later, addressing a press conference, Taiwan’s Culture Minister Dr Hung Meng-chi said that the New Zealand delegation was the largest group ever to attend the Book Fair.

“The New Zealand delegation features 10 internationally famous writers, seven Maori writers, two illustrators, and three graphic novelists. The delegation also includes blockbuster movie special effect production teams of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ series, and a Maori performing arts group,” he said.

He said that events such as the Book Fair strengthened relations between New Zealand and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

This year’s Fair featured an independent section for Graphic novels, the first-ever ‘Illustrators Wall’ and ‘Dream and Experiment Exhibition.’

As a part of its efforts to promote the reading habit among the youth, the Fair provided free access to visitors under 18 years of age.

Photo Caption:

Dr Hung Meng-chi with the New Zealand delegation at the Book Fair on February 11 in Taipei

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