Christchurch-based The Star was named was named Overall and Supreme Newspaper of the Year Award at last week's NZ Community Newspapers Awards held in the city.
A record number of entries from across the country were received in 21 categories ranging from Young Journalist of the Year to Community Involvement.
One of the six Judges, Armin Lindenberg commented that there was "no shortage of quality sports writing in this category, much of it of an exceptionally high standard - the equal of and even better than you find these days in many of our more illustrious metro and weekend papers".
President Simon Ellis said that with more than 80 mastheads represented by the independent publishers, the competition was tough. "To stand out above others, the winning entries had to have something special," he added.
A two-day conference was attended by 100 members, with ten speakers - from Renzie Hanham who covered "performance under pressure" to Doug Hendry from the Puzzle Company.
Feedback has been positive with plans underway for next year's event. Two new committee members were elected at the annual meeting, Charlotte Smulders from Star Media and Robyn McLeod from Whakatane Beacon. Ellis, who is also managing director of PMP NZ, was re-elected as president for a fourth year.
Pictured: Winning Star team members (from left) Gabrielle Stuart, Michaela Bolster, Kate Preece, Charlotte Smulders, Barry Clarke (editor) and Rodney Grey