About BDS

About BDS

About BDS

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425 Colombo Street
Christchurch 8023
03 365 6210

Mon - Fri
9:00am - 5:00pm

Who we are

WEA Book Discussion Scheme (BDS) is a charitable trust affiliated to the the Federation of Workers Educational Associations (FWEA). A Trust Board is responsible for the governance of the Trust and members usually meet on a monthly basis.

The current members of the Trust Board are:

  • Murray Jones (chair)
  • Beth Davies
  • Bill Hardie
  • Jeff Walker
  • John Sullivan
  • Rachel Eadie

An Advisory Committee has an over-arching role to protect the ongoing well-being of the BDS and it consists of a convenor-representative in each of the following areas: Upper North Island, Lower North Island, and the South Island (excluding Christchurch). Members of the Advisory Committee receive copies of minutes and attend the AGM. The current members of the advisory committee are:

  • Karen Harbers - Upper North Island (chair)
  • Penelope Tinsley – Lower North Island
  • Nicola Swain – South Island

Our history

Established in 1973, BDS modelled itself on a similar membership scheme in Australia (operated by the Victoria Council of Adult Education). The BDS has since developed into a unique organisation and provider of quality books to book lovers throughout New Zealand.

Today we have appriximately 1300 groups representing more than 13,000 individual members.


Book group membership fees provide the majority of funding for the operation of the scheme. Books donated in celebration/memorian and other donations or bequests are always welcome.

Mission statement

The BDS seeks to build a just and equitable society by promoting reading as a path to learning. The BDS supports learning by purchasing and distributing books and discussion notes to groups throughout New Zealand.

BDS book groups are designed to:

  • work towards a just and equitable society
  • broaden minds through reading and discussion
  • strengthen communities by meeting community learning needs
  • encourage a sense of community and social cohesion
  • provide pleasure of reading and lifelong learning
  • encourage critical thinking
  • create awareness of social issues and cultural diversity. 

Social agenda

Our social agenda is about promoting literacy and a love of books within sectors of the community traditionally under-represented within book groups.

Our BDS Trust Board has agreed to subsidise initiatives that achieve our social agenda. If you know of, or are involved in, an agency that you think would like to explore opportunities to work with us, please get in touch.

Anyone interested in helping establish fun, informal book groups for ESOL/migrants (where they can chat in English and learn more about New Zealand life) or book groups in prisons, please email us.




Click here to read what our members say about us.


The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations