Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Tena Koutou Katoa! New Zealand Update

Greetings from Aotearoa, New Zealand, the original home of the Kids’ Lit Quiz.

Particular greetings from Hamilton, the city where the very first quiz was held 23 years ago. It was a small affair, with the questions written by the Waikato Children’s Literature Association, of which Wayne Mills was a member.

Never, in our wildest dreams, did any of our members envisage the Quiz would become the global phenomenon that it is today and, in New Zealand, the Kids’ Lit Quiz is now such an integral part of the “reading calendar” it is hard to imagine life without it.

Some of the teams competing in 2011 - the 20th Anniversary International Final

The 20th Anniversary in 2011

In 2011, the Waikato Children’s Literature Association was privileged to host the 20th Anniversary International Final of the Kids’ Lit Quiz. It was a huge undertaking, but truly exciting and demonstrated just how much the Quiz has come to mean to people all over the world.

The Final was hosted at Southwell School in Hamilton and we had teams from New Zealand, the UK, South Africa and Canada. It was also the event that introduced Nicole Deans, the Australian Kids’ Lit Quiz Co-ordinator, to the Quiz. This year, the international competition has grown considerably and teams representing the USA, Australia and Singapore will also participate in "the sport of reading" at the 2014 world final in Cornwall.

The team from Manor Gardens Primary School in Durban, South Africa – winners of the 2011 International Final.

Looking forward to the 2014 NZ national final

For us here at Southwell School, the 2014 Kids’ Lit Quiz journey started in October last year.

We put out an open call for interest and gave each student a quiz to gauge their level of knowledge. From there, we selected 14 students who became known as the “Southwell Super Keens”. These children made a commitment to read widely, to immerse themselves in mythology, nursery rhymes, comics, fairy tales and classics, as well as contemporary fiction. We worked with these students on a weekly basis, before selecting our two teams for the regional competition. We firmly believe that the work the students put into the wide reading was reflected on the night. We were delighted our teams placed first and second.

The winning team in the Waikato Regional Heat of the Kids’ Lit Quiz 2014 – Southwell School Team 1

Now our focus has changed to the National Final.

Unlike many other countries, where Wayne spends a short amount of time and the regional heats and National Finals are all completed in a matter of days or weeks, in New Zealand the regional heats are spread out over several months.

The first heat is in March, and there are still two regions to hold their heats this week. Next Tuesday, all the regional winners will gather in Wellington and the team to represent New Zealand in Cornwall at the World Final will be decided.

For the thousands of children who participate in the New Zealand Kids’ Lit Quiz each year, this is the ultimate goal. In previous years, our teams have come second. We have our fingers crossed for this year!

As coaches, we understand that every child who participates in the Kids’ Lit Quiz is a winner. They know the joy of reading, the camaraderie of being in a team of like-minded peers and the thrill of participating in a truly unique, thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Good Luck to all the Teams!

We wish all the teams participating in the National Final next week all the best of luck.

We hope that winner is decided outright and that there is no need to have a sudden death playoff! We also wish the New Zealand champions, whoever they may be, the very best of luck for the World Final. From hosting in 2011, we know that you are in for an amazing experience and that you will make friendships that have the potential to last a lifetime.

Best wishes to the Kids’ Lit Quiz global community – some of whom we have met and others we look forward to meeting in the future.

Gerri Judkins and Julie Huggins
Southwell School Kids’ Lit Quiz Coaches
Members of the Waikato Children’s Literature Association (Facebook page)

We have both been involved with preparing teams to participate in the annual quizzes since 2000 and have each taken teams to National Finals on a number of occasions: Gerri has attended with teams from Southwell School, while Julie has taken teams from two other Hamilton schools: Fairfield Intermediate and Peachgrove Intermediate, before joining Gerri at Southwell. We were fortunate to take a Southwell team to last year’s National Final and are thrilled to have the opportunity for Southwell to represent the Waikato region again at next week’s Nationals.

We stay involved with the Kids' Lit Quiz because we enjoy the children’s excitement at participating in the Quiz and seeing first hand the major impact the Kids’ Lit Quiz has on their reading habits. It's unbelievable how much these kids like reading!

1 comment:

  1. The New Zealand national final was decided yesterday. Congratulations to Awakeri School, the 2014 New Zealand national team. Have a look at the school's website:

    for more information, including a photo of the winning team.

    We look forward to meeting the NZ team in Cornwall.