Coded educational kids' read a world first

By John Cousins

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The world's first QR-coded children's book is ready to go global, thanks to a collaboration between a Western Bay author and engineer.

Te Puna children's book author Tommy Kapai Wilson and engineer Geoff Payne created something special with T is for Tauranga - an educational book including a Quick Read (QR) code on each page.

The QR code can be scanned using a smartphone or computer to take readers to a webpage offering more information and unlocked by downloading a free app.

The concept is now ready to be rolled out across New Zealand and the world.

T is for Tauranga is a 30-page illustrated children's book that follows the alphabet to capture local locations and things to see and do in the Western Bay.

There is one letter per page and simple rhymes with opening lines like "F is for fishing boats", H is for Harbour Bridge", "K is for kiwifruit", "P is for Pilot Bay", "S is for Speedway" and "W is for Wairoa River".

The paperback book is on sale in book shops and Z service stations around the Western Bay.

Although the two men cannot patent the idea, they are busy locking in the names of main cities in New Zealand and across the world, such as V is for Vancouver, and the names of countries like C is for Canada.

"Once we start rolling it out, it will not be hard to find champions in each country," Mr Wilson said.

The books would be published under licence.

The pair's first overseas licensing venture looked like being the French city of Marseille.

The other big market for the books was tourists who bought the book from service stations when they entered a city or country.

"The market is limitless - it is quite scary for me," Mr Wilson said.

The venture was not about making money but making a difference to the indigenous people living in the areas featured in each book, he said.

It was also about getting the books into schools.

"If you want to grow free range kids, feed them backyard stories," he said.

Mr Wilson is putting the finishing touches to A is for Auckland and A is for Aotearoa, with his next project being Q is for Queenstown.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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