Upper Hutt Leader
The first issue of the paper was printed on January 6, 1939.
The September 30, 1964 issue was the first printed on a new rotary press; the issue contained a humorous article on misprints produced by typesetting machines. The next issue printed photographs taken by Revelle Jackson; his contribution was acknowledged early in 1965.
The paper later moved to 'Graphic House', a two-storey building in Queen Street.
Ralph Ashford was succeeded by his son G P C (Geoff, pronounced Goff) Ashford. The business was bought by the Wellington Publishing Company, publishers of the morning daily 'Dominion' in 1970. For four months it was typeset in Upper Hutt and offset-printed in Wellington; then Wellington Publishing took over its whole production; the office moved to 51 Main Street.
The paper's new office from July 1970 was 51 Main Street, opposite Wilson Street. The horoscopes had just vanished, as had the last comic strip; George McManus's 'Bringing up Father'.
On July 11, 1973 the front page dropped a wide black-print header between advertisements; a pair of rectangles at top right contained 'Upper Hutt' and Leader' in colour, initially blue-on-white; later white on blue, black or red.
Printing was transferred to INL Print in Taita from September 1973, and as it expanded it took in typesetting and other regional newspapers Inprint Limited, the commercial arm of INL, which owned the 'Dominion' via Wellington Newspapers. The paper was printed at their Taita plant until 1992, when it moved to Wellington Newspapers' Petone plant.
The office moved to the back of the City Arcade, 123 Main Street, on August 26, 1974.
The paper changed from Wednesday deliveries to Tuesdays in April 1975. However, when a long weekend necessitated a Wednesday delivery, the inner pages could be found with Tuesday dates.
A strike at Tasman Pulp and Paper in 1978 resulted in a newsprint shortage; the editorial print on May 2, 9 and 16 was tiny, and pages and features were reduced.
Single colours had been in use for some time when the first full-colour picture was printed on September 9, 1980; a small boy playing with a toy raft in the river.
A new $2 350 000 building at 18-20 Princes Street, erected by Clarry Nicholl, was first pictured in the background of a February 24, 1981 picture, three builders were reading 'Leaders' in the foreground. The paper moved into one side on May 25; the Automobile Association moved in alongside..
By the 50th anniversary, the paper had made several moves, and was back in Princes Street.
In mid-October 1988, milk vendors started a 'Homelink' service, delivering a wider range of goods; milk had become available through supermarkets. Vendors delivered the 'Leader; a series of advertisements picturing them ran until the end of November.
When desktop publishing was introduced in 1988 the offices proved too small. They moved to 152-154 Main Street, opposite Logan Street, in July 1990. From there, they moved to the corner of Queen Street and Pine Avenue.
On June 29, 1992 the paper switched from Tuesday to Monday delivery.
Sports took over the back page for a while from October 12, 1992.
The Hutt News and the Leader printed fortnightly 'Weekenders' from mid-October 1992 to Christmas; there were other 'Weekenders', but the library has few, if any.
The delivery day switched from Monday to Wednesday on August 2, 1995. Later that year, the Dominion Post extended its press line, and the papers it printed could use more colour.
The regional 'Contact' paper had come under Central Community Newspapers in September 2003 and would no longer be distributed outside Wellington; the 'Leader took over some of its features; a 'Wellington region in focus' page and horoscopes on a pair of 'ArtSmart Wellington' pages.
At its height, around late 2003, some issues ran to 80 pages; partly explained by car makers' press releases, and partly by car dealers outside Upper Hutt taking out large-scale colour advertisements. That record was broken on July 14, 2004; the 96 pages included a supplement of 32 pages of advertisements suggesting uses for the cheques sent to 80 000 customers connected to the former Energy Board electricity network by the Hutt Mana Energy Trust as it was wound up.
Originally, the page size was approximately 30 x 43 cm (12 x 17 inches) which is not listed among standard newsprint sizes, and always in multiples of eight pages, printed by Taita Inprint.
A3-size pages in multiples of four were introduced on June 25, 1991, when manufacture moved to INL Print. 6 columns per page in most areas; reduced to 5 from August 18, 2004.
Initially, much was taken by Revelle Jackson, using a Rolleiflex camera with a 57 x 57 mm format; he may have been employed by the paper. The last ones appeared in the early 1970s. In later years his name did not appear, even with some wedding photos.
The 'Leader' photographers used greyscale 'full plate' paper 216 x 165 mm (8-1/2 x 6.5 inches) to March 1987, and 177 x 127 mm (7 x 5 inches) from November 1986 up to mid-1993, while colour pictures usually came from 35 mm colour -negative film, which could be printed automatically by local processors, onto 102 x 152 mm (6 x 4 inch) or 127 x 89 mm (5 x 3.5 inch) 'postcard' paper. Colorpace opened in September 1981. Ian Scott started Foto Kwik, also using Kodak paper, in September 1985 and sold it in January 2004; some January photos were processed in Petone.
If a portrait has a pebble-dash background, it was almost certainly taken against the back of Marshall's building, next to the "Leader's" Princes Street office.
Almost every picture came in colour-print format until digital cameras appeared around 2000; Chris Wilson's was new when he died in 2003.
Jack Douglas, sports reporter, retired in 1975 ('Leader', May 18) after almost 30 years.
Charlie Cooper was editor from 1981 to 1985; he had been with the Wellington Evening Post for 30 years and was nearing retirement and assistant editor of the 'Dominion' when he was offered the job. he died in Paraparaumu on August 26, 1999; an obituary appeared on September 1.
Steven Searle left in September 1988, after two years as editor. Liz Brook would stand in until a replacement was appointed; Rosemary McLennan was appointed in December.
Hank Schouten was named as a former editor in 1992, after he wrote "Tasman's Legacy"; a book on Dutch migration.
Journalist Carolyn Enting left to become deputy editor of Army News in June 1992; Jane Diver was her replacement.
Frith Rayner left the 'Leader' after fourteen months, mostly covering sports, which had not been her speciality; her farewell column on May 23, 2001 was editorial-width and the full height of a page.
Chris Wilson was a photographer engaged for summer and weekend work from the early 1990s; he died suddenly on August 14, 2003.
Many photographs in 2005 were taken by Penny Smith.
Steve Deane, sports editor, ran a weekly 'Comments from the supercoach'; in November 2011 he won the Sir Terry "TP" McLean award for best provincial sports writer; he missed out on best sports columnist and best young sports writer.
Another long-serving reporter/photographer is Colin Williams.
Highlights Upper Hutt: A potted history of Upper Hutt from the earliest days through to the present [publication 205]
Upper Hutt Leader 50th jubilee; Julian Ashford, founder Ralph Ashford's son, cuts the cake with Molly Wood, Dawn Cormack.
Upper Hutt Leader 60th anniversary; Julian Ashford, son of joint founder Ralph Ashford, cuts the cake.
Upper Hutt Leader staff; advertising manager Lee Campbell with 'Winter Winner Savers' promotion entries.