Home' Special Publications : Nelson Newspaper 150 Years Contents 28 —THE NELSON MAIL Saturday, March 19, 2016
INTERESTED IN HISTORY?
Want to know more about
the people and events that shaped
the Nelson region?
Nelson Historical Society
with guest speaker
Annual Society journal
ALL FOR ONLY
Single $25 / Double $30
or contact Cathy Vaughan (secretary) 544 6480
Or come along to one of our monthly meetings, second Monday
of the month, Masonic Hall, 109 Nile Street East, 7.30pm
Congratulations Nelson Mail
for recording history
as it happens for 150 years
Sponsor a new seat for the Nelson School of Music auditorium
and help us restore this wonderful and unique heritage building
beyond her former glor y.
For a donation of only $750 per seat you will make a generous
contribution to the redevelopment project and will be acknowledged
with a brass inscription plate on a seat as well as
being invited to an exclusive event for seat
sponsors once the School reopens. In addition
you will receive a special certificate
commemorating your generosity.
phone 03 548 9477
or call into the Nelson School of Music
temporary offices at 142 Collingwood Street
between 1pm and 5pm weekdays.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please....
Reach more people - better results faster.
COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE
THE NELSON EVENING MAIL FOR THE PAST 150 YEARS.
Office Phone: 03 545 6920
Nelson Commercial Realty Ltd t/a Colliers International Nelson,
Level 3, 241 Hardy Street, Nelson
Colliers International, Licensed REAA 2008
❚ Continued from page 27
❚ Continued page 29
Rex Lucas, centre, holding paper, General manager of the then Nelson Evening Mail inspects the first paper off the new
offset press in 1964.
PHOTO: NELSON PROVINCIAL MUSEUM, GEOFFREY C WOOD COLLECTION: 3238.
of a man captivated by print, by
newspapers, by the Evening Mail.
It is also a story of how
newspapers evolved in his time.
On his retirement in 2013, aged 74,
McKenzie told his story to the
paper’s assistant editor, Warren
George McKenzie slides eagerly
into a chair in front of the bulky
museum piece. His fingers
automatically tap the strangely
ordered 90-character keyboard.
drawing on long-ingrained
memory; the key letters are no
longer legible. The 74-year-old
explains its intricate workings
with the enthusiasm of a
schoolboy, which is what he was
when he first got to grips with a
That was in 1955 at the
Greymouth Star, as a bored
15-year-old schoolboy from
Dunollie looking for a summer
job. It set him on a course of 58
years in newspapers, 52 of them
with the Nelson Mail until his
retirement last month.
For our photo, he was reunited
with a linotype – the once
revolutionary printing machine
that sets lines of type in lead slugs
in the Mail office at Founders
Heritage Park. It’s a symbol of the
massive changes in his career,
which were not foreseen by his
first general manager in
‘‘Mr McKenzie, you could have
a job on this machine in any city
in the world for the rest of your
life,’’ he recalls being told. Within
15 years, linotypes were on the
They took with them a
colourful vocabulary, such as a
‘‘printer’s pie’’, the mess left when
metal type was dropped; ‘‘hell
box’’, which the used slugs were
thrown into; and ‘‘printer’s devil’’,
the apprentice who got the blame
George (few call him Mr
McKenzie any more) started at
the Nelson Evening Mail in 1961,
moving north after meeting a
‘‘charming girl’’, Jan, who later
became his wife.
He began as a compositor,
assembling columns of type in
pages ready for printing. It
required a range of skills,
including the ability to read
backwards and upside down.
This quickly became second
nature, he says, and he proves the
point by spotting a spelling error
in an old slug at the Founders
The job put him at the
receiving end of some of the
biggest stories in an era when
print and radio were the
dominant news sources.
He recalls the astonishment on
a Saturday morning at the Mail 50
years ago as teleprinters spat out
the news of John F Kennedy’s
assassination, as well as the shock
of the Inangahua earthquake in
1968, only a month after the
The news became terribly
personal in January 1967. His
younger brother Hector was one
of 19 men who died in the
Strongman mine disaster; their
father narrowly escaped.
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