Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' work: The Infrastructure of Reading

Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' work: The Infrastructure of Reading

MCLT103, Kelburn Campus and Online

This seminar is part of the Seminar Series: Reading Aotearoa New Zealand in the company of Lydia Wevers' Work.

What does the future of reading look like? And is reading in rural areas still a ‘thing’?

This seminar will reflect on Lydia Wevers’ beautiful memoir “On Reading”. The panel will discuss Lydia's commitment to the infrastructure of reading and investigate the current state of reading in Aotearoa New Zealand, the role libraries have to play in our society, and how reading can and should be fostered.

Chair: Chris Szekely (Chief Librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library)

Panel: Juliet Blyth (CEO, Read NZ), Annette Beattie (Library Services Manager, Wairarapa Councils), and David Hedley (Owner, Hedley's books).

Have a re-read of parts of her memoir on: Lydia Wevers: On reading | The Spinoff


About the Chair and panel

Chris Szekely has held the statutory position of Turnbull Library Chief Librarian since 2007. In that capacity he worked alongside Lydia Wevers in her role as Chair of the Guardians Kaitiaki of the Alexander Turnbull Library, a statutory group with ministerial advisory responsibilities. Outside of his day job responsibilities Chris is also an award-winning children’s author.

Juliet Blyth has been CEO of Read NZ Te Pou Muramura (formerly the NZ Book Council) since 2020. Prior to that she was General Manager of Vic Books & Café. A passionate fiction reader, Juliet has a degree in English Literature from the University of Canterbury and is a firm believer in the importance of reading for pleasure in the lives of all New Zealanders.

Annette Beattie is the Manager of the Carterton and South Wairarapa District Councils public library service.  An experienced manager and librarian, she specialises in facilitating multi-organisation shared services and change management.

David Hedley is a third-generation bookseller and has been bookselling for 49 years. Owner of Hedley's Books which was established in Masterton in 1907 and has traded in the same site since 1958. Hedley's Books through their website deliver books globally and have a strong clientele throughout New Zealand and Australia. However, one of their key focuses is New Zealand history and have also published several important Wairarapa related titles including Wairarapa: A Historical Excursion by A. G. Bagnall (Librarian – Alexander Turnbull Library) and In the Boar’s Path: Brancepeth which includes a foreword by Lydia Wevers.

About the series

Join us in honouring the legacy and work of Emerita Professor Lydia Wevers.

Professor Wevers was an internationally renowned literary historian and critic, teacher, writer, and scholar who specialised in New Zealand studies.

This series addresses themes and activities in New Zealand research that were central to Professor Lydia Wevers' work, especially during her time as director of the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies. ‘Reading’ New Zealand through the lens of writers, columnists, journalists, librarians, booksellers, and academics colleagues will explore our understanding of our country through the lens of reading and writing.

Each afternoon will start with a short reflection on Lydia Wevers’ reading of the chosen theme. The panellists will then take this theme in new directions.

By ‘reading’ Aotearoa New Zealand, we deepen our relationship with our unique country; by discussing it together we seek to open it up to new ways of listening. Every panel session will end with Q&A.

If you have further questions, please contact: or

Date: Every Wednesday from 27 April–8 June

Time: 4.30pm–6pm (except 25 May seminar—5pm–6.30pm)

Where: Maclaurin Lecture Theatre 103, Kelburn Campus and Online


Other seminars in this series

4 May: Cultures of Reading

11 May: Writing and Reading for/in Public

18 May: Women 'readings' of Aotearoa New Zealand

25 May: Reading the Short Story

1 June: Being Pākehā

8 June: A life as a Reader Researcher: Honouring Lydia Wevers’ Legacy at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

You are welcome to attend any number of seminars, please ensure you click only the ones you want to attend as spaces are limited: Register