3 Jun 2011

NZ to play key part in Frankfurt Book Fair

10:11 am on 3 June 2011

New Zealand will be the guest of honour nation at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair, the oldest and largest such event in the world.

Last year, 280,000 people from 124 countries went to the event, which also incorporates music, film, architecture and other arts.

New Zealand is spending $1.8 million to showcase arts ahead of, and during, next year's the five-day fair.

The money is coming from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage's cultural diplomacy programme and a planning team has already been set up, headed by former Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung.

The contract sealing New Zealand's special status was signed on Thursday.

The fair's director, Juergen Boos, says the guest of honour role will be beneficial for both New Zealand and Germany.

He says New Zealand is associated with scenery and sport but much less is known about its literature.

Arts Minister Chris Finlayson says the government wants to show the country is open for business after what were high-profile natural disasters.