A tribute to Catriona Ferguson

By Peter Biggs, New Zealand Book Council | Posted: Monday February 20, 2017

Statement from Peter Biggs, Chair of the New Zealand Book Council 

I and the Board of the New Zealand Book Council are very sorry that Catriona Ferguson has decided to leave the Book Council after four and a half years as CEO.

Catriona has done an exceptional job in advancing the New Zealand Book Council’s mission to promote and champion reading for everyone – because we believe the power of reading changes lives.

Over the last couple of days, I have personally contacted people in the literary sector to let them know that Catriona is leaving the Book Council to take up the role of Association Director at PANZ. There was consistent praise and recognition of Catriona for the extraordinary contributions she has made to the sector – and to the Book Council.

As well as ensuring that the Book Council delivers on its Tōtara role obligations, one stand-out initiative, which was conceived and driven by Catriona, captures her unique set of skills and her commitment to building a nation of readers and writers. The Ōtāhuhu Writers in Schools Project, now in its third year, is an innovative collaboration between five Ōtāhuhu primary/intermediate schools, Reading Together, the Ōtāhuhu Pātaka Kōrero Ōtāhuhu Library, the National Library Services to Schools programme, and the New Zealand Book Council's Writers in Schools programme.

Five low decile schools in Ōtāhuhu (South Auckland) hosted five diverse New Zealand writers in residence. They encouraged and inspired students to develop their creative writing talents and helped them to publish their work in a series of anthologies. The Book Council is now looking to extend this initiative nation-wide.

For this – and for all of the other things which Catriona contributed to the Book Council and to Aotearoa New Zealand, we thank her and wish her every success in her new role.

Her last day at the Book Council will be Friday 24 March.

We have already started the recruiting drive for a new CEO.

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