The enormous expo, designed to facilitate the trading of foreign language and editorial rights between publishing, film, television, gaming and digital content companies around the globe, selects a guest country each year. The previous guest was Iceland.
New Zealand had been aiming for the 2014 slot, but due to changes at the German end, this year became available and quick decisions had to be made.
Now with $5m of state backing, a group of government, business, academic and cultural organisations has galvanised to put the best possible "New Zealand Inc" face on the year-long programme, which culminates with the fair itself in October.
"It's akin to the Rugby World Cup and the span of opportunities that gave New Zealand to showcase a whole range of things," said Jules Annear, senior manager at Education New Zealand which aims to promote the Kiwi export education sector.
But unlike the World Cup, where the commercial opportunities were arguably more obvious, the Frankfurt guest of honour status is focused on the country's cultural identity.
Germans have a fascination for New Zealand's indigenous culture anyway, and fair organisers were attracted by New Zealand's oral and visual storytelling traditions, director Juergen Boos said on a visit last week.
More at stuff.co.nz