Five great decades of local news and views

The Guardian continues to deliver in changing times

Grant Smith Palmerston North Mayor





Congratulations Manawatu¯ Guardian! To chalk up 50 years in business is a tremendous achievement. I’ve been in business myself and am all too familiar with the challenges facing companies during normal trading times — let alone the extraordinary circumstances that confront businesses today. When the decision was made to celebrate 2021 as the 150th anniversary of Palmerston North, we chose to focus most attention on the immediate past 50 years. After all, those five decades since the 1971 centennial provided relatable, accessible and familiar territory to most of the city’s longer-term residents. Coincidentally, this half-century also saw the advent of the Guardian in 1972 as a freely available weekly community paper — a publication that has continued in lockstep for a third of Palmerston North’s development and growth. When the town’s first newspaper, The Manawatu¯ Times, was published in 1875 it also coincided with a newfangled communications device called the telegraph. The roads then were awful, the wooden-railed tramway was unreliable, but the telegraph with wires strung from pole to pole made it possible for the growing settlement to connect with the rest of the world. That first newspaper was able to collate, curate and present news and advertising that helped build community connections while promoting commerce and enterprise. Today, we take wireless connection with the rest of the world over multiple media platforms for granted. And yet, there is still a place for a regular, professionally curated, freely available and home-delivered copy of community news, events and advertising. Today’s mediascape is dynamic, but as Palmy’s remaining community paper, the Manawatu¯ Guardian retains a vital role — especially for those who prefer the tried and familiar in these times of rapid change. The next 50 years will undoubtedly throw up a host of new challenges, and the team at the Guardian, its faithful advertisers, editorial contributors and readers will do their level best to keep its proud masthead flying high.