Camberley School students are celebrating the 20th anniversary of a nationwide books-in-homes programme, which was inspired by a Kiwi author's visit to the school.

Pat Watson, principal of Camberley School, Hastings, said 25 students would embark on a two-day trip to Wellington this morning, to join in celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Duffy Books in Homes.

Mr Watson said the programme, sponsored by New Zealand Post, had provided countless books to pupils at low decile schools since it was established by New Zealand author Alan Duff in 1994.

The story goes a Camberley School teacher had been looking for a local author to come and talk to students.


Mr Duff, who famously penned the novel Once Were Warriors and was a Bay resident at the time, leapt at the chance.

"He [Mr Duff] asked them a simple question as he went to leave: 'How many books in your homes?' That's where the whole thing came from, because none of them did."

Now schools across the country received books as part of the programme.

"He's made a huge difference to the lives of a lot of children."

Mr Watson said the trip to Wellington would include an official breakfast at Parliament.