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WELLNGTON, Friday: At its 100th AGM, The Newspaper Publishers’ Association conferred life membership on Allied Press (The Otago Daily Times) chairman Sir Julian Smith, in recognition of his service to the NZ newspaper industry.

The ODT is this country’s oldest daily newspaper and the last independently-owned metropolitan paper in both New Zealand and Australia.

Sir Julian has served on the board of the NPA since 1981 and made “a huge contribution when changes of ownership within the industry and other distractions could have led to an earlier break-up of the Press Association”.

“He was the fifth generation to take the helm.”

Sir Julian was knighted in 2013 for services to business and recognition of his leadership and involvement in a range of Otago businesses – foremost among them his family-owned newspaper business, where he was the fifth generation to take the helm when he joined the board of The Evening Star in 1974.

The Evening Star and The Otago Daily Times merged in 1975. Sir Julian became deputy chairman and group MD in 1979. With the merger of the ODT and Evening Star there were attempted takeovers from outside Otago by Brierley and The Mount Cook Company.

In 1986 Sir Julian initiated a management buy-out, thus privatising the company into local hands. The final issue of the Evening Star was published in November 1979.

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