‘The Star’ turning 40 next week


On Monday, The Star will celebrate 40 years as Dunedin’s community newspaper.

The Star name has been synonymous with news in Dunedin since daily newspaper The Evening Star was founded in 1863.

However, the arrival of television and the 6pm news slot had a major impact on all evening dailies in New Zealand, and a new model was needed.

The newly created Star Weekender community paper was first published on Sunday, April 1, 1979.

The daily evening paper ceased publication on November 3, 1979, and the first issue of the Star Midweek was published on November 7.

Helping to guide the newspaper through this period of transition was experienced subeditor Barry Idour, working alongside editor Jocelyn Brombie.

Helping to establish a new community newspaper was a challenging and exciting experience, which drew strong support from the community, Mr Idour (77) said.

“In our first month, we took on a major campaign around the community response to the Dunedin City Council’s plans to introduce black plastic rubbish bags,” he said.

A call in the paper for a “yes-no” vote received 4122 votes against and 112 votes for the bags.

“It was a great response,” Mr Idour said.

As part of his role, Mr Idour also wrote the weekly “Penman” column, which shared snippets of news and happenings, and gave people a chance to air grievances, for 19 years.

“We had a lot of fun with that.”

After many years in the role, Mr Idour retired in 2002 and still looks back fondly on the experience.

“What I enjoyed most was the contact with the people of Dunedin, and getting to know about the interesting things they were doing,” Mr Idour said.

The Star Midweek and Weekender were led by editor Richard Stedman from 1984 to 1996, followed by Geoff Whyte for several years. Murray Kirkness took over in 2001.

A new era for the newspaper began in early 2002, when it became a weekly edition under The Star banner.

After Mr Kirkness became Otago Daily Timeseditor in April 2007, former chief subeditor Helen Speirs became communities editor.

Five years later, Stu Oldham took over as The Star editor, followed by now ODT deputy editor Craig Page.

The current editor of The Star is Bruce Quirey.