SWUG Timeline

The first thoughts about setting up a New Zealand version of SWUG came when a number of New Zealand production staff travelled to attend the Australian SWUG Conference which was started back in 1986.

At its core was the concept of setting up a venue for newspaper production people, production staff coming together helping to solve operational issues by way of open discussion between users and suppliers.

This was an important networking opportunity because the presses that were once used only for printing the daily newspaper were now required to print magazines and other commercial work. The information and contacts gained in Australia were invaluable.

Early in 1999 Peter Kirwan from Goss International contacted John Green of Wilson & Horton (now APN Print) and floated the idea that John start a SWUG New Zealand organisation, running a conference a week after the Australian SWUG Conference so overseas speakers and suppliers could attend both.

John Green became the first New Zealand Chairman and the inaugural SWUG New Zealand Conference was run at the Centra Airport Hotel in Mangere in late 1999. It was attended by approximately 20 delegates with an equal number of suppliers. It was essentially a Goss Users’ Function and featured site visits to Horton Media and the-then Ellerslie Printers (now APN Print Ellerslie).

The following year the SWUG New Zealand Conference went to Dunedin, with the venue at the Southern Cross Hotel and the host site Allied Press. The attendance for this SWUG Conference grew with both users and suppliers seeing the benefit of such a gathering, and Goss double width users being invited.

2015 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

With over 120 people in attendance and some great informative presentations this was always going to be one of the best SWUG conferences in its history. Including in the number that attended were delegates from Tonga, Fiji and Australia which boosted the kiwi contingency. It was good to see some attendees connecting with people that they have not caught up with in some time.

From day one when Anthony Payne from Fairfax Australia presented on OH&S to the last presentation from Kevin MacKay from Norske Skog, everyone was riveted and keen to soak up the information that was being presented. The site tour of the Norske Skog paper making plant was a highlight of the conference and thanks to Willie Townend, Aaron Buist and Kevin MacKey for organising this.

Sir Ray Avery gave a fantastic presentation on his life and this is truly a remarkable man who continues to give back and he can say he is making an impact in this world. Very inspiring.

2014 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

The 14th annual SWUG Conference, branded “Think With Ink”, celebrated a highlysuccessful venture to the deep south by lifting the bar to new heights with entries into the SWUG Quality Awards.
A record number of attendees – well over 105 – saw a fantastic two days of presentations, in which technical sessions were mixed with networking, socialising and industry awards.
Chairman Dan Blackbourn opened the conference at Dunedin’s Southern Cross Hotel by saying a lot was happening in the industry with the Otago Daily Times getting a new Ferag inserting drum and line, the Whakatane Beacon a new tower and folder, the Ashburton Guardian moving to a new production site at Rolleston, PMP bringing a 12-colour press and installing a digital press into its Christchurch site, and APN Print Ellerslie contracted to print work for Fairfax.

2013 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

The 2013 SWUG conference held at the Novotel Auckland on the 17th and 18th July 2013 was the best attended one ever. Yet again a number of first class presentations by suppliers and special guests over the 2 days kept the audience enthralled. With a site visit to the new PMP Enterprise Park plant in Wiri delegates were able to see first hand the 90000 copies per/hr KBA press and were treated to an evening of food and entertainment on site, Billy Graham was the celebrity speaker, you could have heard a pin drop during his presentation.

2012 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

The 2012 SWUG conference held at the Chateau of the Park in Christchurch on the 15th and 16th August 2012 was by some attendees accounts the best one ever. Yet again a number of first class presentations by suppliers and special guests over the 2 days kept the audience enthralled. With two site visits (Fairfax’s Christchurch plant and the Guardian Print plant in Ashburton) delegates were able to see first hand two different press sites in the South Island.

A record number of 127 delegates attended the 2 day conference including overseas guests from Tonga, Thailand, Fiji, the Netherlands, Australia, Solomon Islands and Germany.

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2011 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

The 2011 SWUG Conference was planned to be held in Christchurch, however due to the devastation caused by the earthquakes the conference was reluctantly shifted to Wellington.

A fantastic attendance underpinned a very successful SWUG conference, a host of overseas and local experts representing various industries gave informative seminars to an appreciative and suitable impressed audience, not all seminars were focussed on print, DIC’s Steve Packham enthralled a captive audience with his passion for space and day two kicked of with an exercise in team work by way of a drum circle.

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2010 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand


In 2010 the SWUG New Zealand Conference was revived and the Taupo conference at the Wairakei Resort was the biggest to date. Subsequently, Matthew Lowe from the Whakatane Beacon was awarded the SWUG New Zealand Apprentice of the Year Award, enabling him to attend the 2011 Australian SWUG Conference along with site visits.

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In 2008 the planned meeting in Dunedin was postponed and also there was no meeting in 2009. At that time Ray Clarkson gave notice to stand down as Chairman.

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2007 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

Venue Kingsgate Hotel host site Waikato Times

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2006 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

Venue Hotel Grand Chancellor host site Christchurch Star

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2005 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

Venue War Memorial Conference Centre no site visit

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2004 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

Venue Rutherford Hotel – host site Nelson Mail

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2003 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

In 2003 the SWUG New Zealand Conference went to Whakatane, the venue being the Whakatane Motor Inn and host site the Whakatane Beacon. Brian Cornes from the Whakatane Beacon and Tony Negri from The Greymouth Evening Star were awarded Goss Scholarships, enabling them to attend the 2004 Australian SWUG Conference along with site visits.

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2002 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

In 2002 Wellington was the venue at the Angus Inn Hotel and the host site the Dominion Post. The audience expanded as users of other press manufacturers were able to attend such as DGM, Harris, MAN etc.

2001 SWUG Conference

Swug New Zealand

In 2001 the SWUG New Zealand Conference headed north to Gisborne, the venue being the South Down Park Hotel and host site the Gisborne Herald. Ray Clarkson took over as the SWUG New Zealand Chairman, as John Green had retired from Wilson & Horton (now APN Print) and become a supplier. John however retained the position as Treasurer.