The NZ Herald is on top of the world, with two major international awards in New York, recognising nzherald.co.nz's commitment to premium journalism.

The NZ Herald was named best in Asia/Pacific at the International News Media Association awards for its #NotforSale editorial campaign.

The campaign – highlighting the plight of, and raising funds for, victims of child trafficking and exploitation in Asia – was also awarded Best Public/Community Service Campaign, heading off several famous European and international media brands.

#NotforSale was a joint campaign with World Vision and highlighted the plight of young Asian girls and women subject to trafficking, with a particular focus on child marriage, child labour and trafficking in India and Myanmar. More than $200,000 was raised.

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"We may be at the bottom of the world, geographically, but our journalism makes a difference across the globe and is testament to the talent of our people and editorial endeavour," said NZME and NZ Herald managing editor Shayne Currie. "And it further highlights the premium journalism that is driving our new digital subscriptions."

As part of the campaign, NZ Herald columnist and NewstalkZB radio host Kerre McIvor and NZ Herald videographer Mike Scott travelled to the Bihar region in India and Yangon in Myanmar to capture the stories of vulnerable children and their families.

14-year-old Kiran, (left), now goes to school fulltime in Agra and her mother Mumta couldn't be happier with her daughters dream of becoming a doctor. Photo / Mike Scott
14-year-old Kiran, (left), now goes to school fulltime in Agra and her mother Mumta couldn't be happier with her daughters dream of becoming a doctor. Photo / Mike Scott

The high-impact storytelling included compelling personal stories, short video documentaries and a 360-degree Virtual Reality short film, in which NZ Herald and World Vision teamed up to distribute VR glasses to readers.

Back in Auckland, World Vision staged a "wedding' in which actors Kylie Thompson, 18, and Alan Fish, 55, pretended to get married at St Paul's Church to gauge public reaction and to highlight the reality of young Asian women. Some passersby turned their heads in horror and muttered words of disgust but none approached the newlyweds.

The hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by Herald readers for the campaign is going towards supporting World Vision's child protection work in Asia.

The campaign broke the donation process down into tangible outcomes. Thirty dollars could change children's lives in India by helping parents understand and speak up for the rights of all children. A $250 donation could help a survivor of trafficking start a new life with basic needs such as clothing and shelter, and life skills training in Myanmar.

Front Page of the 'Not for Sale' campaign.
Front Page of the 'Not for Sale' campaign.

"The INMA Awards are all about recognising media companies that are focused on energising their brands, creating new products to engage with audiences and embedding innovation," said NZME Chief Executive Michael Boggs.

"At NZME we've been absolutely focused on transforming our business to support great journalism. The awards highlight how we are using our multiple platforms in innovative ways to make sure we're keeping Kiwis in the know. These international accolades are great recognition for our awesome NZ Herald and NZME teams who are steadfastly dedicated to making a difference."

The international accolades follow the NZ Herald's success at the Voyager Media Awards last night where the Herald won best daily newspaper and Viva best magazine.

The company also won a slew of awards for individual and team excellence at a glittering event at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland.

The Voyager judges said the winning Herald portfolio for daily newspapers with more than 30,000 circulation featured "a number of excellent news breaks, and a quality production across all sections. The standout edition celebrated 125 years of women's suffrage. A complete commitment to the project produced an outstanding edition."

A stunt wedding using actors highlighted the issue of under age brides. Photo / World Vision
A stunt wedding using actors highlighted the issue of under age brides. Photo / World Vision

Viva was praised as "an intelligent and professionally put-together magazine section that has its readers in sharp focus and keeps them engaged and entertained ... its fresh design and digital platforms were a standout".

Herald investigative reporter Nicholas Jones won two of the major reporting awards last night — best scoop, and best individual investigation — and was runner up for the nib senior health scholarship.

Major individual winners for the Herald last night included Simon Wilson, opinion writer of the year, who was described by judges as "the go-to columnist for thinking about big issues and one of our best in the business".

Rod Emmerson was declared cartoonist of the year, for work that is "packed with layers of meaning and yet they unfold easily, one by one, until the reader wonders just how they were all fitted in there ... already a legend among legends".

Kim Knight and Kirsty Johnston won feature writing and reporting categories.

Herald reporter Luke Kirkness won student journalist of the year for a winning portfolio that showed he "can think clearly and quickly to get the story under deadline pressure".