Top line-up of judges for Voyager Media Awards

April 10, 2019

Top line-up of judges for Voyager Media Awards

More than 70 judges from nine countries have completed judging the 2019 Voyager Media Awards.

The list of high-calibre former and current print and broadcast journalists, editors, photographers and videographers who have judged nearly 2000 entries across 63 categories can now be viewed on

New judges include three Al Jazeera journalists, all ex-pat kiwis, who joined the Voyager judging team with enthusiasm and commitment.

Kamahl Santamaria, based in Qatar, has been a news presenter for Al Jazeera English for the past 13 years. Wayne Hay is a senior correspondent for Al Jazeera English based in Bangkok. Drew Ambrose is a senior producer and foreign correspondent based in Malaysia. His work has won a number of accolades including the Walkley Award, New York Festival Gold Medal, Melbourne Press Club Quill and United Nations Media Peace Awards.

Emily Watson is editor of New Scientist magazine in London, the first woman to be appointed in the publication’s 62-year history.

Other new faces include ex-pat kiwi Melanie Burford, a filmmaker, producer and photographer based in Norway; Bruce Mahalski, a former art teacher and illustrator who is now an artist and museum owner in Dunedin; former New Zealand journalist, editor and columnist Joanne Black who now lives in Washington DC; former Auckland broadcaster Sonya Wilson; and novelist Terry Quinn, a former editor and publisher of newspapers in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the US. 

Awards director Jane Phare said she was grateful to the judges who willingly put weeks of work into reading, viewing and listening to multiple entries. “Most have fulltime jobs and they do the judging in their spare time. Some were called away to cover the Christchurch shootings and the aftermath, which put more pressure on their time. We couldn’t run these awards without them.”   

For the full list of judges and their biographies go to

Winners will be announced at the Voyager Media awards gala dinner on Friday, May 17 at Cordis, Auckland. Tickets can be ordered online at

Voyager Media Awards