September 2012


Neither tabloid legend Jonathan Marshall nor TV3 superstar David Farrier – pictured here looking cool, detached, and vaguely threatening at the Wintec Press Club free lunch extravaganza held last week in Hamilton – has won the latest Alcohol Sponsorship Press Award, but it’s a cool photo of two very interesting figures in New Zealand journalism.

For the second consecutive week, the award has gone to someone in anticipation that they’re about to do something really great.

Last week’s winner was criminal defence lawyer Greg King, just as he was about to give his speech at the Wintec Press Club.

“As it turned out, he was really great,” said Press Club life president, Metro hack, and Alcohol Sponsorship Press Awards convenor Steve Braunias.

“We’re confident it’ll be the case with this week’s winner, too.”

He said the next three paragraphs would be a cut and paste job, and were intended for readers who may not be aware of the Alcohol Sponsorship Press Awards (ASPs).

The awards, established in November 2011, are held in association with Grower’s Mark, and are announced every Friday on the Twitter account @SteveBraunias. The winner gets two bottles of wine, which explains why the ASP credo is: “We don’t take the piss. We give it.”

The award recognises excellence and strangeness in New Zealand media, including social media, blogs and things like that. The judging panel comprises a seasoned media professional in each of the four main centres, as well as Levin and Mosgiel.

Previous winners include Cheryl Riley (Hokitika Guardian), Christchurch author Jane Bowron, Radio Live broadcaster Michael Laws and Southland Times hack Grant Bryant

Anyhow, this week’s five finalists are:


  • Wellington poet Bill Manhire, for “Old Man Puzzled by His New Pyjamas”, one of his two poems published in the latest London Review of Books. The poem reads,


              I am the baby who sleeps in the drawer.
              Blue yesterday, and blue before –
              and suddenly all these stripes.




  • The unbylined reporter from the Taranaki Daily News, for the week’s most revealing story about New Zealand life, “Uruti sheep rustled”.


This week’s grand champion, who takes away the glory and liquor of this week’s Alcohol Sponsorship Press Award, and will receive two of the five varieties of award-winning Grower’s Mark wines as his prize, is: Toby Manhire, on the eve of filling in for Kim Hill as the presenter of tomorrow’s morning show on National Radio.

“He’ll be really great,” said judges.

“He’s been a repeat finalist of the Alcohol Sponsorship Press Award for his endlessly inventive columns in the Listener, and he’s sure to bring those qualities to the wireless.

“Plus he makes his debut as a columnist next week in the revamped NZ Herald.

“He’s at the top of his game and he deserves a drink. Salut!”