The Herald and NZME have enjoyed major success at this year's Voyager Media Awards, with the Herald winning best daily newspaper and Viva best magazine.
The company has won a slew of awards for individual and team excellence at a glittering event at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland.
And in New York tonight, the Herald is up for two major international awards — for best video and best public campaign — for its #NotforSale campaign to end child exploitation in Asia.
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."
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.
The judges said Jones' scoop, into the quality of care in resthomes, was a "hard-edged investigation that was exhaustive and compelling with wide impact. It was the first — impressive — round in a running series that highlighted the frailties and flaws of an industry entrusted with the care of our elderly".
They said his investigative work "stood out for its excellent research and storytelling".
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.
Knight's arts, entertainment and/or lifestyle portfolio "beautifully showcased both the precision of her research and her elegant narrative construction, but what set her stories apart was her ability to connect in an emotionally powerful way with her readers".
Johnston won the best crime and/or social issues category and her "tenacious reporting shaped three exemplary investigations that resulted in real change".
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".
And Michael Donaldson won the best headline, caption or hook award. His work was described as bringing "a maestro's touch to the sports pages of the NZ Herald. In each case he demonstrates a rare ability to entice, entertain and explain with just a few spare words combined to perfection".
"We're proud of the work we do — and these results reflect the professionalism and dedication the Herald team demonstrate day in, day out," Herald editor Murray Kirkness said.
"The awards are a strong endorsement of our work.
"And they come on the back of the launch of our Premium digital subscription project — the success of which proves that New Zealanders appreciate and understand the vital importance of quality journalism.
"We're thrilled with the success of Premium, which further reinforces that hundreds of thousands of Kiwis trust us to deliver news, analysis and commentary across all our platforms every day."
NZME chief executive Michael Boggs congratulated winners from the company's various newsrooms, saying: "We are committed to providing Herald readers with the best journalism in New Zealand and to deliver on that promise we need premium talent. Given this, it's very pleasing to see some of our great storytellers recognised."
Other Herald big names honoured last night — as runners-up in reporting and photography categories — were Jared Savage, Steve Braunias, Brett Phibbs and Ben Fraser.
#NotforSale was runner up in best digital storytelling and the Herald on Sunday was a runner up in best front page.
The wide-ranging success at last night's awards follows a hugely successful year for the Herald — it is currently the best daily news brand in New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific and Southeast Asia, as judged at the internationally competitive News Media Awards in Sydney.
The Sunday Star-Times was named best overall newspaper at last night's awards, and The Spinoff best website.