Dan Blackbourn, Chairman SWUG New Zealand

Hi there

New Zealand’s 16th Annual Single Width Users’ Group (SWUG) conference—representing the web offset sector of the printing industry—was a huge hit in Wellington
Held on August 3/4 at the Copthorne Hotel on picturesque Oriental Bay, the theme was “Printfinity and beyond”, a play on words from the children’s animated move “Toy Story” to send the message that Print is alive and vibrant.
SWUG NZ Chairman Dan Blackbourn said the Wellington conference matched the high benchmarks set by recent successful SWUG conferences such as those in Rotorua and Dunedin.
“We had 115 delegates, including visitors from Australia and the Pacific Islands, and speakers came who are based in Europe.
“We had two days of top-class presentations across all technical sectors of the industry, from press installations and blanket technologies to inks and rollers. The site tour to the Fairfax plant in Petone was excellent.
“SWUG delivered a fantastic opportunity to network with suppliers and other delegates. Wellington proved a perfect venue with the awards evening held at the Te Papa Museum which was in walking distance from the Copthorne.”
The Awards Dinner, featuring the SWUG Apprentice of the Year Award and the SWUG Quality Awards presented by guest speaker and broadcaster Miles Davis, also provided a highlight for not one but two charities.
“SWUG was able to donate a cheque for $1000 to the Billy Graham Naenae Youth Charitable Trust as well as another cheque for $1000 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation New Zealand who also presented at the conference.
“Referring back to Billy Graham, Billy was our guest speaker a few years ago and formed a bond with SWUG. It was a pleasure to present him and his wife with a cheque which will go to help him bring worthwhile sporting opportunities to at-risk youths,” said Dan.
“We had a further charity opportunity when our guest performer, Australian artist Brad Blaze, produced a quick-fire painting of former All Black captain Richie McCaw. We raffled the painting among SWUG delegates and raised about $600 which will go to a charity at SWUG 2017.”
Another unexpected beneficiary of the raffle was the Petone Fairfax printing plant, which had hosted the SWUG site visit.
The raffle was won by Steve Packham from DIC Australia, but with the painting too big to fit on the plane home, Steve donated it to the Petone site.
Dan paid thanks to all sponsors, particularly gold sponsors DIC, Global Press Technology, Fujifilm, QI Press controls, Norske Skog, Bottcher, DS Chemport, Hostmann-Steinberg and Kodak for making SWUG possible.
‘Putting on an event like this comes close to costing $100,000. Without the support of the sponsors in our industry, it could never happen.”
A decision on the date and venue for SWUG 2017 will be made late this year.


Dan Blackbourn

Chairman, SWUG NZ.