I'm incredibly privileged and honoured to be the guest editor of today's New Zealand Herald.
Once I said I'd do it and it sunk in, I began to understand the importance and huge responsibility that comes with taking the reins of such a well-known and respected newspaper. However coupled with the excitement of taking on this challenge was the daunting realisation of 'how the hell am I going to do this, I have no idea what I'm doing!'
This is all very new to me so I hope I can do it the justice it deserves. Being the first ever person to guest edit the Herald, I really don't want to stuff it up!
Read some of Sir John Kirwan's commissioned content here:
Why we're counting the high cost of living
Far better lifestyle than London, with much cheaper childcare
Website helps to banish the blues
Faces of Auckland
Southsiders' talent making waves in the wider world
JAFArtist inspiring Auckland
Let's face it - he's Blues to the core
In considering what I could bring as guest editor, I thought about some of the things that really interest me that I hope will also interest you, as well as key issues I think are affecting us as a city and as a nation. I'm incredibly passionate about this great city of ours and I wanted to convey that. From the farmer up north to the person living on the west coast surf beach or in the buzzing metropolis of the city, there are hugely varied lifestyles but we're all united by being Aucklanders.
I also often call us Pacific Islanders because I think of Auckland as the Pacific islands coming together in one big melting pot. It's also got a strong Asian influence with Chinese, Korean and Japanese communities so one of the key goals for me was to embrace that and get some articles translated into the native tongues of the people that make up our city. Some things can get lost in translation but reading it in your own language shows that we care. We know you're there and it's challenging to have articles translated every day but this is a special tribute to you.
My passion for Auckland has been captured in the front cover of today's Herald, created by talented local up-and-coming artist Allan Wrath. It showcases all the things that are great about Auckland and all the fantastic events that happen year-round. I'd love you to keep this as a special poster to put on your wall.
The well-known JAFA acronym has been bandied around about Aucklanders for decades and when I came back last year I wanted to change that and have a play on words so I created the saying 'just another fantastic Aucklander' because it is such a great city, and I think New Zealanders and Aucklanders should be proud of it. The Americans are really proud of the towns they come from and I think we also need to be proud because it is such a beautiful city that we need to celebrate. A lot of Aucklanders probably don't appreciate how good it is here but when you've been away like I have you realise how amazing it is.
There are a number of articles I've had specially commissioned that I'm interested in or intrigued about, from the Prime Minister's column and Auckland's future development, to families in sport and of course the Blues' pre-season preparations. I also wanted to talk about mental health and try to use the paper for a greater good.
We're often put out of our comfort zones out on the rugby field so I've decided put a few of the Herald journalists out of their comfort zones too and have asked them to write about subjects they're not used to. I'm looking forward to reading my good mate Wynne Gray's thoughts on politics, having switched from his regular rugby desk!
It's been a really interesting process, I've got a little bit of fear and anticipation about what it's going to be like and how it's going to be received but it's also really exciting. I've tried to make it positive and a little bit different, and I really hope you like it.