Outstanding achievement awards


Awarded to individuals and publications for outstanding achievements in their media field.



Donna Chisholm

Donna Chisholm 

Donna received her award for more than four decades as a news reporter, feature writer and editor – for the Auckland Star, 8 O’clock, Sunday Star, Sunday Star-Times, Metro, North & South and the NZ Listener. Currently editor-at-large for North & South, and a senior writer for Metro and the Listener, Donna is widely regarded as one of the stars of New Zealand journalism.  Donna has won multiple Qantas and Canon awards including the inaugural nib health journalism scholarship in 2016. Among her significant achievements was helping to free David Dougherty, wrongfully convicted of the abduction and rape of an 11-year old girl. As a journalist with the Sunday Star-Times, Donna kept up a relentless campaign of stories until David Dougherty was released from prison. Presentation of the Outstanding Achievement award to Donna at the 2017 awards prompted a standing ovation.


Ross Setford

Ross Setford 

Ross received his award in recognition of 50 years’ sports and news photography. Starting on the Hawera Star, then a daily, in 1967, Ross worked for various newspapers in New Zealand and Australia, and for NZPA. He co-founded Fotopacific Photo Library and later Fotopress with Ross Land. Since 2011, he has run Setford News Photo Agency in Wellington. Ross is best-known for his sports photography, especially rugby, and he has been a familiar sight running up and down the sideline at many of the biggest tests over the decades.


Ian Grant

New Zealand Cartoon Archive

The archive celebrated its 25th year in 2017. The award for outstanding achievement was presented to archive founder Ian F. Grant who is chairman of the Guardians of the NZ Cartoon Archive. Situated at the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library, Wellington, the archive has amassed more than 50,000 cartoons from more than 60 cartoonists, with new images added every week. New Zealand cartooning’s fine tradition dates back to Punch magazines of the 1860s, a time before photography had become widespread. Catalyst for the archive’s establishment was Ian’s cartoon history The Unauthorized Version, published in 1980. A revised edition followed in 1987.


Rexine Hawes

Matamata Chronicle 

This title turned 50 in 2017, a significant achievement for a community newspaper. The Chronicle was founded by Jens Sorrenson and later bought by Harry Baker who worked as editor, typesetter, compositor and printer. And sometimes paper boy, when the regulars didn’t show up. In 1984, the paper was bought by New Zealand News. When that company was sold and broken up, the Chronicle went to Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) which later became Fairfax NZ. Harry Baker’s two sons, Mark and Simon, started as photographers on the paper and later worked for Reuters and The Associated Press respectively. The award was accepted by Chronicle reporter Rexine Hawes.


Nelson Mail

The Nelson Mail was honoured for reaching a milestone of 150 years’ continuous publication. Robert Lucas landed with his family, and a printing press, in 1859. He tried a few community mastheads before settling on the Nelson Evening Mail, in 1866. After three months, five gold diggers were murdered by four local thugs. Stories covering the arrests, the trial, the hangings (attended by the editor) dominated for weeks. Circulation soared, the paper never looked back.

Owned by the Lucas family for 127 years, the Mail was sold in 1993 to Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) which itself was sold to Fairfax 10 years later.


Fairfax Marlborough and Nelson editors Nicola Coburn (left) and Victoria Guild celebrate their newspapers' 150ths at the Canon awards.

Marlborough Express

Marlborough Express was also honoured for reaching a milestone of 150 years’ continuous publication. The Marlborough Express was established in 1866 by immigrants from England, Samuel and Thomas Johnson from Manchester. They sold out to Smith James Furness and James Henry Boundy in 1879, heralding the start of the Furness dynasty which lasted for more than a century. The paper was bought by INL in 1998. Fairfax acquired it as part of INL in 2003.

Greymouth Star

Greymouth Star, also honoured for reaching a milestone of 150 years’ continuous publication, was established as one of numerous goldfields papers launched at the time, including the Labour Party-owned Grey River Argus. Ownership changed a few times before the company was floated in 1891 to a who’s who of Greymouth. In 1995, a majority shareholding passed to Allied Press, publishers of the Otago Daily Times.

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The Massey Journalism School team, from left, Fran Tyler, Shirley Morrison, Jim Tully, Grant Hannis, Cathy Strong, James Hollings and Alan Samson.

Massey Journalism School

In 2016 Massey Journalism School celebrates its 50th anniversary, making it New Zealand’s oldest continuously operating journalism programme.

Journalism training has been critical to the improvement in editorial standards over recent decades. Cynics used to say people went into journalism only after failing at other careers, but that hasn’t been so for a long time. And no institution can claim to have had a greater role in shaping journalists in this country than the Wellington course, founded by the Wellington Polytechnic in 1966 and run since 1999 by Massey University.


Clive Lind

Marking his retirement, Clive was recognised for his 50-year newspaper career which included 26 years on the Southland Times, the last seven as editor. Clive moved to the afternoon Evening Post in Wellington as deputy editor, and was appointed editor for a brief but tumultuous period before its merger with the morning Dominion in 2002.

Clive then edited the Manawatu Standard before assuming a new role with Fairfax as editorial development manager. Somehow, he found time to write several books, one of them a significant history of the dairy industry. He also served for eight years on the Press Council, five years as chairman of the Journalist Training Organisation (JTO) and many years as a member of the Media Freedom Committee.

The Dominion Post

The Post half of the capital’s daily newspaper celebrated 150 years and the story was well told in a video produced by Fairfax which was shown to the Canon awards audience. The paper was founded in 1865 by Dublin-born printer, newspaper manager and leader-writer Henry Blundell. Operating from 1894 as Blundell Bros Limited, his sons and their descendants successfully ran the business until its merger in 1972 with its rival, Wellington Publishing Company, publisher of the morning newspaper The Dominion, to form Independent Newspapers Limited (INL). The Dominion was founded by a group of farmers and businessmen in 1907.

The Evening Post’s last issue was 6 July, 2002 with a new paper being born the following day, The Dominion Post. INL was sold a year later to Australia-based Fairfax which continues to publish the paper today. The outstanding achievement award was accepted by editor Bernadette Courtney.

New Zealand Listener

The Listener was honoured for reaching a milestone of 75 years’ continuous publication, a significant achievement when so many of its kind around the world have succumbed to economic pressures.

The Listener was born in the dark days of 1939, against a backdrop of threatening calamity in Europe. Government-owned, its main brief was to provide radio programmes. Under forthright editors Oliver Duff then Monty Holcroft, the Listener achieved a reputation for independence. And helped by its monopoly on programme listings, circulation expanded to peak at 376,000 in 1982, massive by today’s standards.

Later in the 80s, the Listener lost its programmes monopoly and in 1990, was sold to New Zealand Magazines, then more recently to German family-owned Bauer Media.

The award was accepted by editor and longtime staffer Pamela Stirling.


The New Zealand Herald (150 years)

The first edition of The New Zealand Herald, founded by W. C. Wilson in 1863 battled 10 different rivals to survive its first decade. One of those competitors was Alfred Horton’s Daily Southern Cross. In 1876, Wilson’s sons Joseph and William reached agreement with Alfred Horton to amalgamate the two papers and one of our most famous publishing companies, Wilson & Horton, was born.

In 1996, control passed to Tony O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media, later moving to associated Australian-based company APN News & Media, the New Zealand arm of which has since been merged with APN’s radio and entertainment interests to form NZME.

The award was accepted by editor-in-chief Tim Murphy.

Timaru Herald (150 years)

Launched as a weekly in June 1864 by Alfred George Horton and Ingram Shrimpton, the paper went daily in 1878. Nine years later, it was bought by Edward George Kerr whose family owned and ran the paper for nearly a century before selling to Independent Newspapers Limited (INL) in 1985. INL was bought by Fairfax in 2003.

The award was accepted by editor Peter O’Neill.

Fred Tulett

Fred retired in 2014 after 15 years as editor of the Southland Times, which followed a similar period as chief reporter of The Dominionin Wellington. During that time, Fred mentored scores of reporters, most of whom will have their own memories of Fred’s inimitable newsroom management style.

One of the old school, Fred had a sharp eye for news and he taught many up-and-comers about how to get big stories. Fred was always comfortable with the adage that a journalist’s job is to comfort the afflicted – and afflict the comfortable. 


Sir Julian Smith

Sir Julian Smith is chairman of Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times, this country’s oldest surviving daily newspaper and the last independently-owned metropolitan paper in both New Zealand and Australia. Sir Julian was knighted in the New Year Honours for service to business and recognition of his leadership and involvement in a range of Otago businesses – foremost among them his family-owned newspaper, the Otago Daily Times. Sir Julian and his brother, Nick are the fifth generation of their family to run the business and Sir Julian has been at the helm for nearly 40 years.

Sir Paul Holmes (posthumous)

Sir Paul was knighted just before his death, aged 62, in February 2013. One of New Zealand's best known broadcasters, Sir Paul also had a great love for writing, much of which was published via his regular columns, first the Herald on Sunday and later the New Zealand Herald’s Weekend Herald. He twice won the Columnist of the Year award. His last column, published on October 12 2012, told of his school years at Karamu in Hawke’s Bay, and being invited back to be keynote speaker for the school’s 50th jubilee. In the days afterwards, he focussed on his battle to recover from open-heart surgery and prostate cancer – a battle he ultimately lost.

Tim Pankhurst

Tim Pankhurst is a former Chief Executive of the Newspaper Publishers’ Association. Tim Pankhurst spent 38 years in journalism in New Zealand and Australia, including editing four major daily newspapers – the Waikato TimesThe PressEvening Post and Dominion Post.

As chief executive of the NPA, Tim negotiated the transfer of management of the Qantas Media Awards from Barry and Carolyn Young to the NPA, and the naming sponsorship from Qantas to Canon. Tim has moved to a new role outside media as head of Seafood New Zealand.