Manuka Books

A clever way to help parents, teachers, and children.

What we do

Manuka Publishing is an English learning system developed by educational experts and creatives designed specifically for non-native English speakers and young readers. For many years, New Zealand’s literacy education has been praised on the international stage. With Manuka, the most up-to-date scholarship in literacy education from New Zealand’s tertiary institutions is applied to series of readers that are tailored to each market’s culture and needs, including reflecting the way children learn at home.


Manuka Creators' Collective


John Lockyer

John Lockyer has over 150 titles in print, many of which have been published for the educational market. He has written books for children of all ages, covering a diverse range of topics. The Kea (2001, Reed) was a finalist for the Elsie Locke Award in 2002, and A History of New Zealand received a Booksellers Gold Award. Willie Apiata VC (2009, Puffin) is a finalist in the Non-Fiction category of the 2010 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.

John Lockyer is also a teacher. Involved in the education sector for more than 30 years, he now teaches at a large independent school in Auckland New Zealand where he is responsible for the ESL (English as a Second Language) programme for 4-11 year old students. 



Dawn McMillan

Dawn McMillan is an author with twenty years’ experience in writing picture book scripts and educational readers. She has had a long and satisfying career as a primary school teacher, which included her work in the Learning in Science Programme, and contributions to the then Primary School Science curriculum.

Now she writes as her career. Her published works include 27 picture books, 210 educational readers, and poetry. Some work has been translated to French and Spanish.

The educational works range from entry level readers to upper primary texts, with several chapter books at this higher level. Her work includes a variety of non-fiction at all levels, including readers with Science and Maths focus.


2003 Children’s Choice New Zealand Post Award

2013 Notable Picture Book Award

2017 Notable Picture Book Award


Gary Cross

Gary has been writing for over fifteen years. In that time, he has had thirteen children’s books published. He has also written numerous television scripts and magazine articles.  His children’s books encompass a wide range of subjects and reading levels and include a series of educational books for Sunshine Books targeting 7 – 8 year olds, and several books under the Nitty Gritty label for Pearson Education aimed at older children. These books continue to be sold to schools in Asia, North America, New Zealand and Australia. Gary works closely with his wife Karen, who is a qualified Primary School teacher with over fifteen years’ experience in teaching.  In addition to writing books for the school market, Gary has had several Young Adult novels sold internationally.

Gary is passionate about writing and shares his love for the craft as a regular speaker at primary and secondary schools throughout Auckland.


Phillip Simpson

Phillip Simpson is a primary school teacher with 15 years’ experience in years 1-6 (grades K-5) and a specialist teacher of literacy (writing). He is a writer of educational resources and fiction for children and young adults for U.S, U.K, Australian and New Zealand markets and has had over 50 books published, both fiction and non-fiction along with numerous articles, teacher notes and guides including texts for PM readers. Publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Month9books, Pearson, Oxford University Press, Cengage, Raintree, Capstone, Essential Resources, Lift Education and Iversen.

Phillip is currently studying towards his Doctorate in Education (EdD) investigating motivation in children’s writing. His other qualifications include:

  • Master of Creative Writing (Hons)

  • Master of Arts (Hons) in Archaeology

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Education and Professional Development

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies

  • Bachelor of Arts (Ancient History and Archaeology)