Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book publisher gains National Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown presented the National Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Graham Stewart in the course of a special ceremony at the Wellington City Council.

The Mayor introduced proceedings with a crisp background of Graham Stewart’s career which was well under way when he covered the 1951 Waterfront Strike, the pivotal post World war 2 event in the nation’s labour relations, and the Tangiwai Disaster, the nation’s most haunting peace time tragedy.. The Mayor went on to cover other highlights of his photo journalist career which began on the New Zealand Herald, and then via the provincial circuit, saw him returning to The New Zealand  Herald as illustrations editor, before he entered book publishing, at the top, as an executive director of AH & AW Reed the Wellington-based publisher which dominated the market until quite recent years.

Mayor Wade-Brown noted that when the House of Reed went into international play and began to falter, Stewart had seized his opportunity and started his own imprint and colophon, Grantham House. Starting with his signature work on the tram era. The End of The Penny Section, Grantham House had continued its seriousness of intent with a host of other non-fiction books on the nation’s infrastructure and cities, including two monumental works on Wellington.

 At a time of uncertainty in the book publishing industry, Grantham House continued to give employment and to flourish by publishing books of importance and which New Zealanders therefore wanted to read, and to buy, observed the Mayor.

 In his acceptance speech Graham Stewart recalled that when he began on The New Zealand Herald all photographers, and especially those covering sports, were commanded at all times to wear a collar and tie. He recalled the outsize cameras of the era designed to cope with variances in light such as the glass plate cameras with the need for corresponding skills and devices in development techniques, and above all, in keeping out unwanted light.

 Stewart noted that he was especially pleased to receive the National Press Club’s Lifetime Achievement Award because he had worked with several other recipients notably Sir Terry McLean and Pat Booth.

 He recalled that he had been preceded at The New Zealand Herald by National Press Club vice president Peter Bush who he described as his career  “mentor.”
 In the  photograph are (left)Graham Stewart, and co – presenters of his Lifetime Achievement Award National Press Club vice president Peter Bush and the Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown. 

The ‘Lifetime Achievement Award ’ – awarded by the National Press Club of New Zealand…  is only presented every five years…
Those who have already have been honoured are:-
Peter Arnett / Sir Geoffrey Cox / Pat Booth / Frank Haden / Connie Lawn and Sir Terence McLean… only six to date …   Graham is the seventh and the first who started life holding a camera…

1 comment:

Gavin McLean said...

Well done, GCS. I've worked with/for/employed Graham since the mid-1980s on many book projects and can say that's he's always been professional, positive and above all, a man of his word.