Graeme Keith Norris (October 5, 1934–July 20, 2018)

For 42 years, Graeme Norris worked tirelessly to get the Bay of Plenty Times to its readers – even if it meant wading through water to do it.

He worked his way up from apprentice printer to works manager and bowed out after decades of major upheavals and industry transformation.

Graeme died last Friday at the age of 83.


"He was a kind, loving and supportive husband, dad, grandad and great granddad," his son Aaron said this week.

"His family meant everything to him. He was always there for all family members, for us kids, and as we had families and started to progress into our own properties, he was always up there helping out."

Graeme Keith Norris was born in Tauranga on October 5, 1934, to parents William and Rose Norris.

He grew up with five siblings at the family home on the corner of 12th Ave and Christopher St.

Graeme had four brothers (Bill, Roy, Frank and Trevor) and one sister (Olive). Frank tragically died in Italy in 1944 during World War II, aged only 22.

Graeme was in the first XV rugby team and first XI cricket team at Tauranga College (then a co-ed school and now Tauranga Boys' College).

He joined the Bay of Plenty Times straight out of school in 1950. It was to be his only job.

"He enjoyed it. He went from sweeping the floor right up to where he was works manager there," Aaron said.

"That's unheard of these days, isn't it?"

He said his dad was "most definitely" proud of his career at the Times.

Graeme Norris perched on a rock at the top of the Kaimais. Photo / Supplied
Graeme Norris perched on a rock at the top of the Kaimais. Photo / Supplied

An article in the newspaper announcing Graeme's retirement in 1992 said one of his first roles was hand-setting type from the type case – a slow and laborious task.

Most of his working life was spent on hot metal Linotype machines, but a fire in 1976 proved the catalyst for a change to computerised typesetting.

A second fire broke out about a year later among rolls of newsprint in the lower part of the building and dousing the fire left about 10cm of water on the floor which housed the sizeable rotary press.

But Graeme and his staff waded around in the water and managed to still get the paper out that day.

He overcame many such challenges during his career and experienced a number of building programmes, department shifts and the move to full computerisation.

"There have been a lot of changes in the 42 years, but I have enjoyed working with the Times," Graeme said at his retirement.

He married Lorraine Watson in 1956 and together they had two children, Paulette (who also worked for the Times) and Aaron.

Graeme and Lorraine bought a small farm at the top of Kaimais in the late 1970s, which was home for the family for just over 10 years.

"That was his zone up there," Aaron said.

Graeme had a lifelong interest in rugby and enjoyed squash, marathon running, cycling, square and round dancing, bush walks and took up lawn bowls in retirement.

He also enjoyed pottering around on an orchard he and Lorraine bought when they retired.

Graeme is survived by his wife Lorraine, daughter Paulette, son Aaron, and his five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

- Scott Yeoman