Erik’s Reading Challenge

Date: 1st April 2020

How it came to be
How it works
Prize Packages 2021
Thanks to our partners
In the press
Positive feedback
Books We Love
Enter Here
2020 Recap

How it came to be

One of the main reasons we created this reading challenge was because we had a son who struggled when learning to read. Consequently, it was very hard to get him to read anything more than comic’s. He needed an incentive. As a lover of food, this reading challenge would have worked a treat for him. 

In 2019 we worked with Wanaka Primary School, incentivising children to read chapter books with the reward of an Erik’s meal, on the house!

The Library teacher at Wanaka Primary School was blown away by the success of the program and how well it encouraged children to read.

Erik’s 2020 Reading Challenge was in the process of launching into all local primary schools, but with the COVID-19 lockdown, we decided to launch online. It was a great success, and so the challenge has continued. Bring on 2022!

“Learning to read was a real struggle for me. If it wasn’t for my parents putting in a lot of extra hours, in particular, my Dad Erik reading me many chapter books as I grew up, I would not be where I am today. I encourage all children to take part in this challenge”

Theo Arndt

How it Works

  • Kids read 5 chapter books ( a parent/caregiver can read the chapter books to the child, if they’re unable to)
  • All kids can enter online here and receive a voucher for a free kids meal

Thanks to our Partners and Sponsors

We wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of this without the wonderful support of our Partners and Sponsors

In The Press

As a community initiative, with the goal being to encourage children to read; The Reading Challenge has been very popular in local and national media.

Anna regularly discusses updates with the local radio stations and will move further afield once the programmer has launched in other areas.

Jesse Mulligan – RNZ Interview

Queenstown Businesses Giving Back


The Wanaka Sun

The Hits Dunedin

Positive Feedback

We’ve also had some really encouraging feedback from parents

This is sooo cool! My 8 year old has lost his interest in reading because he find it difficult and I mentioned this to him last night and he was much more enthusiastic.
Kind Regards, Helen 

I must say , my daughter, has been struggling a little bit at school, but has recently worked really hard in reading and has jumped 2 levels in her reading progression. This is fabulous outcome for all her hard work.
Happy Mum

This is awesome. Thanks for doing this for the kids! We need more reading.

Thank Anna. He did lots of good reading during lockdown – he has gone from attending reading recovery at school to now being a book worm. His favourite books are comics as it has a visual impact for him – we can highly recommend the Judy Moody books and the follow on series Stink(judys little brother).
Thanks, Rebecca 

Books We Love

A Bear Named Bjorn
Ages 4-7

Comical and contemplative stories from Bjorn’s forest for early readers.

My Happy Life

My Happy Life
Ages 6-8

A sweet, funny illustrated chapter book about a young girl with a lot of optimism—even if sometimes life makes it hard to be happy.

Snake and Lizard

Snake and Lizard
Ages 6-9

Snake is elegant and calm, and a little self-centred; Lizard is exuberant and irrepressible. Even though they’re opposites, they are good friends.

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe
Ages 6-9

An endearing illustrated chapter book about an African giraffe and his pen pal, a penguin.

Detective Gordon: A Complicated Case

Detective Gordon: A Complicated Case
Ages 7-9

A warm and funny story from Detective Gordon’s forest about doing the right thing—and eating little cakes.

The Runaways

The Runaways
Ages 7-12

Grandson and grandpa run away together for a one-night adventure.


Ages 6-9

A funny, lively illustrated chapter book about a street-smart country girl in her first year of school, from internationally award-winning Frida Nilsson.

All the Dear Little Animals

All the Dear Little Animals
Ages 7-10

Three children decide someone must bury all the world’s poor dead animals.

Harsu and the Werestoat

Harsu and the Werestoat
Ages 8-12

Fairytale, time travel and adventure.

Zanzibar _ Catharina Valckx

Ages 5-8

An uplifting, warmhearted early chapter book about a crow, who proves you can move mountains (or even dromedaries) and perform truly heroic deeds if you believe in yourself.

The Inkberg Enigma _ Jonathan King

The Inkberg Enigma
Ages 8-12

A graphic-novel mystery adventure in which a girl and boy uncover the secret that has corrupted a town.

the road to ratenburg _ Joy Cowley

The Road to Ratenburg
Ages 8-12

A family of rats is forced to leave its home, so sets out to find the fabled city of Ratenburg.

Dear Professor Whale

Dear Professor Whale
Ages 5-8

A charming chapter-book follow-up to the international bestseller Yours Sincerely, Giraffe.

Bruno cover

Ages 6-8

Bruno, the cat in the checkered cap, takes life as it comes.

Bibbit Jumps _ Bei Lynn

Bibbit Jumps
Age 5-9

A charming illustrated chapter book for emerging readers about an enthusiastic frog who sometimes misses the mark.

The Ice Sea Pirates _ Koran Millwood Hargrave

The Ice Sea Pirates
Ages 8-12

A classic children’s adventure of icy seas and cold-blooded pirates, wolves, mermaids and the bravery of one girl determined to save her sister.

The Yark_Bertrand Santina

The Yark
Ages 6-12

A very funny and cheerfully subversive children’s chapter book about a monster who eats children-until one day he makes a friend.

The Mapmakers' Race

The Mapmakers’ Race 
Ages 8-12

Five children have 28 days to find a route through the wilderness in this exciting mountain-race adventure.


Ages 10-13

William and Melissa have been roped into helping their old hippie grandparents fix up their holiday home in the middle of the Sounds. They’ll have no electricity, no cellphone reception, and only each other for company. As far as they’re concerned, this is not a holiday.

Enter Here

    Book 1:

    Book 2:

    Book 3:

    Book 4:

    Book 5:

    Terms and conditions:

    • Limited to one meal per student per month;

    • Only open to Primary School Children in New Zealand;

    • No minimum spend is required;

    • The voucher can only be used by Ordering online;

    • We expect the student to be present when collecting the meal so our staff can personally congratulate them.

    *Required fields

    2020 Recap

    Major Prizes

    As the overall winner in 2020, Wanaka Primary School won the following:

    • A package of Gecko Press books valued at $500
    • Plus, $500 worth of products from Kraft Heinz

    The teacher with the most entries won:

    • A $50 Erik’s Fish and Chips Voucher
    • Gecko Press books to the value of $50
    • A Spice Room voucher
    • Plus, a private tour of the Kiwi Life Bird Park in Queenstown

    All students who entered 5 times went in the draw to win:

    • A $30 Erik’s Fish and Chips Voucher
    • Gecko Press Books to the value of $50
    • Plus, a private tour of the Kiwi Life Bird Park in Queenstown

    In 2020 we also gave away the following prizes:

    Queenstown Get Away x 3

    • 2-nights stay in the Novotel Hotel, right on the beautiful lakefront
    • $50 Erik’s Fish and Chips voucher
    • A Gondola and Luge ride
    • Family pass to K Jet Time Tripper experience
    • A kids ski pass for Cardrona and Ski gear hire from Sno Pro
    • Plus, an Aqua Bike hire from Paddle Queenstown

    Wanaka Get Away x 3

    • 2-nights stay in either Bella Vista Motel or Edgewater
    • $50 Erik’s Fish and Chips voucher
    • A visit to Wanaka Puzzling World
    • An activity from Paddle Wanaka
    • Plus, a kids ski pass for Cardrona and Ski gear hire from Sno Pro

    Dunedin Get Away x 3

    • 2-nights stay at the Bella Vista Motel in Dunedin
    • $100 Meal Voucher for Best Café
    • A visit to Ocho Chocolate Factory
    • Plus, a pass to Dinosaur Revolution Secrets of Survival at Otago Museum

    Monthly Prizes x 6

    For Students: A $30 Erik’s Fish and Chips voucher. Plus, 1 or 2 of the following vouchers:

    • $10 books from Wanaka Wastebusters
    • A family pass to Kiwi Bird Life Park
    • A Spice Room voucher
    • An I-Fly Voucher

    Gecko Press chose a winner every month. The student came away with a book of their choice from the provided options below.

    For Teachers: A $30 Erik’s Fish and Chips voucher for one teacher, whose student has completed the challenge. Plus, 1 or 2 of the following vouchers:

    • A complimentary tour of the Cardrona Distillery
    • A 2 for 1 deal with Altitude Wine Tours
    • $10 books from Wanaka Wastebusters
    • An I-Fly Voucher
    • A Spice Room Voucher
    • A massage from Harmony Spa

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    13 Earl Street
    T: 03 441 3474
    12.00pm – 9 pm everyday
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    54 Ardmore St
    T: 027 570 5514
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