Tedd Kerr has a link to the first days of the Hutt News, 90 years ago

Simon Edwards, Ted Kerr and Tony Young. The trio have a continuous link to the very earliest years of the Hutt News. ...
Nicholas Boyack

Simon Edwards, Ted Kerr and Tony Young. The trio have a continuous link to the very earliest years of the Hutt News. Ted's father William purchased the paper in 1928 and he worked there when Young was appointed editor in 1972. Young appointed Edwards as his successor in 1989. Edwards held the position until 2016.

The Hutt News is celebrating its 90th birthday. A special publication, Highlights Lower Hutt, provides a potted history of the paper, which first appeared on April 1, 1927, under the banner of the Lower Hutt Businessmen's Association.

Written and researched by former Dominion Post journalist Andrea O'Neil, it features articles on everything from the Battle of Boulcott, the first female lighthouse keeper to Sir Robert Jones and sport in Wainuiomata.

Over the next few months, we will run a series featuring stories from Highlights Lower Hutt.

Highlights Lower Hutt is a potted history of Lower Hutt, written by former Dominion Post journalist, Andrea O'Neil.

Highlights Lower Hutt is a potted history of Lower Hutt, written by former Dominion Post journalist, Andrea O'Neil.

Our first story is by Nicholas Boyack, on three notable newspaper stalwarts.

Ted Kerr has a special reason to enjoy reading the Hutt News. The 92 year-old can claim a link almost to the date of its first publication in 1927.

It first hit the streets in April 1927, under the auspices of the local Businessmen's Association, with 2500 copies posted to local households and businesses.

Publisher Walter Harold Smith, a retired farmer, thought the time was right for Lower Hutt to have its own paper.

In 1928, Smith was joined by James and William Kerr from the Petone Chronicle. Together they formed the Hutt Printing and Publishing Company to produce a new version of the Hutt News.

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Over the years there has been some confusion over the dates but Kerr said there is no doubt that 1927 was when it all started.

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Originally a newsletter, it proudly carried the name The Hutt News.

When the Kerr family purchased it in 1928, they printed a new first edition and subsequent anniversaries recognised the initial involvement of the Kerr family.

Kerr's memory goes back to when he was five or six.

"My first memory is playing around in the factory where my father was working and playing with a friend called Jim Hayes, whose father was a printing machinist."

His first job with the family firm was sweeping the floor, later he would deliver parcels.

The company published the Hutt News and did a range of other printing jobs. It could be tough finding enough work and one of the jobs he took on, was printing gambling papers for the Chinese in Hanning St (Wellington).

Later he moved into accounts before becoming the manager.

Ted spent 39 years with the firm and to this day remains an avid Hutt News reader.

"I rate it very highly, I do."

Looking back, he said readers today have no concept of how much publishing had changed.

The technology he used no longer exists and the role of editor is also very different.

Another person who had seen plenty of change is Tony Young, who was editor from 1972 to 1989.

In 1989 Young, who today works in real estate, appointed Simon Edwards who was in the hot seat until 2016.

With Edwards in charge, the paper took on a greater news focus and developed a reputation as one of the best community newspapers in the country.

One of his proudest achievements was in 1991, supporting Mayor Glen Evans in opposing the closure of the Hutt Hospital.

With Edwards backing the mayor, 20,000 people marched in opposition and the health board backed down.

Edwards became a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to journalism in 2008.

The newspaper industry is undergoing rapid change and in 2016 Edwards moved on to pursue a career as a city councillor.

The paper's editor today is Sharron Pardoe, the first female to hold the role.

The Hutt News is simply one of New Zealand's best community newspapers, she said.

"I am really proud of it. I really love it."

 - Stuff

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