At the 100th AGM of the Newspaper Publishers’ Association held in April 2020, Sir Julian Smith was honoured with life membership in recognition of his service to the association.

Sir Julian is chairman of Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times – this country’s oldest daily newspaper and the last independently-owned metropolitan paper in both New Zealand and Australia.

Sir Julian is a director of New Zealand Press Association Limited, being chairman for an unprecedented 6 terms from March 1983 to March 1989 and again from 2002 until 2006 when President of The Newspaper Publishers’ Association. He has served on the Board of the NPA since 1981 and made a huge contribution when changes of ownership within the industry and other distractions could have led to an earlier break-up of the Press Association.

Sir Julian was knighted in 2013 for services to business and recognition of his leadership and involvement in a range of Otago businesses – foremost among them his family-owned newspaper business, where he was the fifth generation to take the helm when he joined the board of The Evening Star in 1974.

The Evening Star and The Otago Daily Times merged in 1975. Sir Julian became deputy Chairman and Group Managing Director in 1979. With the merger of the ODT and Evening Star there were attempted takeovers from outside Otago by Brierley’s and The Mount Cook Company. In 1986 Julian initiated a management buy-out, thus privatising the company into local hands. The final issue of the Evening Star was published in November 1979.

NPA General Manager Brook Cameron speaks fondly of Sir Julian, “I was delighted to meet Sir Julian when I joined the NPA and visited Dunedin in December 2019. His passion, depth of knowledge and ability to share historical insight was invaluable in coming up to speed in my new role,” says Cameron.

NPA Chair, Michael Boggs, thanked Sir Julian for his continued contribution to the NPA. “Recognising Sir Julian and presenting to him virtually at the AGM was an honour for myself and the other NPA directors. We are pleased to be able to formally acknowledge the significant contribution that Sir Julian makes to the industry, utilising his vast experience and knowledge.”

A celebratory dinner and presentation in Sir Julian’s honour will be held when travel can resume.

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