Amid the hustle and bustle of Auckland's Downtown Ferry Terminal harried commuters, laidback tourists and lunching businesspeople are unaware there's a fairy in their midst.

While she might not have wings, Jade-Ceres Munoz wears pink - with hair and purple-rimmed glasses to match - and moves discreetly through the city's transport hubs spreading a little magic. Munoz is New Zealand's first official book fairy, leaving free books around Auckland for lucky commuters and passersby to find.

Her mission, inspired by London's Books on the Undergrounds, is supported by Harry Potter star Emma Watson. Now appearing in the movie Beauty and the Beast, Watson joined book fairies around the world to distribute books for this month's International Women's Day.

The titles came from her feminist book group, Our Shared Shelf, which Watson started as part of her work with UN Women.


"I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I've been discovering so much that, at times, I've felt like my head was about to explode . . . I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I'm learning and hear your thoughts too."

For IWD, she sent 1200 books to book fairies across the globe to distribute and each contained a copy of a handwritten note from her. Munoz received 25 including titles such as How to be A Woman by Caitlin Moran, Alice Walker's The Colour Purple and Gloria Steinem's My Life on the Road.

A signed note from actor Emma Watson placed in books for Book Fairy, Jade-Ceres Munoz, to give out. Picture/Dean Purcell.
A signed note from actor Emma Watson placed in books for Book Fairy, Jade-Ceres Munoz, to give out. Picture/Dean Purcell.

The digital marketing strategist left them around the CBD, including at Auckland Art Gallery and the Britomart precinct. She says positive feedback was quick to follow. One recipient even donated a box of secondhand books while another volunteered on the spot to be a book fairy.

Since starting "book fairying" at the beginning of this year, Munoz has seen volunteers in Wellington, Rotorua, Christchurch and Dunedin start chapters in their own cities and says close to 900 books have been given out.

Each book has a sticker on it, explaining where it's from and urging the reader to pass it on once they've finished the book. Munoz says publishers have donated books as have supportive members of the public.

"A lot of people tell me they love the idea," she says. "Like a lot of girls, I dreamed of changing the world and this is a way for me to do something I am passionate about. As I grew up reading a lot and believe reading is important because it introduces you to new ideas and concepts, new ways of looking at the world."

She sometimes takes 5-year-old daughter Paris with her, saying the young girl loves the idea of being a book fairy.