At the weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the ASPAs, the awards of the Aotearoa Student Press Association. The function was held at Massey University in the old War Pavilion complex. Later it ended up in town.

Traditionally it is a battle to the death between heavyweights Salient and Critic, but this year the awards were shared all around, with small and large newspapers all doing well. And Craccum won the overall prize.

The list of all the winners is on Facebook. Fairfax were one of the sponsors (they liked the idea of having unpaid news editors :-), and Sean Plunket the MC.

At times I felt like a relic from the Smithsonian, as one of the attendees – upon me introducing myself, exclaimed “Are you THE David Farrar”. I was both flattered and appalled 🙂


A camera shy Nicola Kean, who was the primary organiser of the Awards Night. She and the others did a great job.


Radio NZ’s Sean Plunket who managed the sometimes rowdy crowd well. He also gave a short yet meaningful speech on journalism.


One of the Craccum editors, accepting Newspaper of the Year Award.


Critic’s Kate Newton who won Best Columnist of the Year. Kate holds the job I used to hold on Critic so had a good chat with her. I especially enjoyed the exchange when she asked me why I was attending the ASPAs and I explained I was not there as a blogger, but I was one of the category judges. She asked which category I had been a Judge for and with a smile I said I was one of the (three) judges for Best Columnist.


A fashion disaster – matching shoes!


Salient Editor Steve Nicoll and two others whose name I am afraid I can not recall. The one in blue edits one of the smaller newspapers in Auckland I think.


To save infringements of the drink driving laws, ASPA laid on a bus to take people into town, where we headed to The Kumara. It was a short yet fun bus trip. Young Chris Bishop was going to be a piker and head home until he realised his father, John Bishop, was heading into town and was going to show him up!


Dancing and drinking at the Kumara. We also had a pleasure of a police raid – not searching for underage drinkers though, but some escaped criminal. They took Bishop Sr outside for questioning which amused me!


I left The Kumara a bit after midnight and headed to Gabby’s place where we had a fun cocktail mixing party until around 3 am. Pictured above are Gabby and Argentinian flatmate Marina.

So all in all ended up being one of the better Saturday nights in recent times. Very happy to be an ASPA judge again!

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