Focus on city’s literary history


Dunedin’s literary heritage is being highlighted through a new creative tourism start-up.
Beverly Martens’ Dunedin Literary Walking Tours is one of the new small businesses to come out of CO.STARTERS business programme run by Startup Dunedin.
Ms Martens, a published poet and short story writer, launched her tours on January 1, leading groups around the University of Otago campus.
The tours explored past and present writers connected to Dunedin and the connection with the University of Otago, as well as the city’s designation as a Unesco City of Literature
From author Janet Frame to Charles Brasch, who supported the Burns Fellowship, and, of course, Robbie Burns, the city had plenty of literary history , she said.“[It is] really just celebrating that story.”
A member of the Otago-Southland Society of Authors, Ms Martens said her connections within the city’s literary scene meant she could let visitors know about up-to-date going-ons with Dunedin writers.
With the tours running four days a week, the extra time in her week gave her the ability to focus on the business side of the start-up, Ms Martens said.
Ms Martens, who began the CO.STARTERS business programme in mid-2016, said while she had had a solid business idea, the amount of time and hard work required to get the business off the ground was a “reality check”.
While she started off with a business partner, she had had to go solo as the business could not provide an income for two people, she said.
The course had required her to question potential clients and other businesspeople in the city – and had given her the chance to bounce ideas off other people and find a business mentor.
She had also joined The Startup Space, which meant she had a workspace she shared with other small businesses.
While it had taken a long time and much work to get the business running, she was encouraging of other Dunedinites with small-business ideas, she said.
“Hold your nerve and keep going,” she said.
The next CO.STARTERS course begins on February 14. For more information on the evening course series, visit For more information on Dunedin Literary Walking Tours, visit