Stuart Munro is leaving the Whanganui Chronicle after 17 years of capturing the highs and lows of Whanganui life from behind the lens.

"I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of Whanganui and I love this place," he said.

"It is a special community - I've lived all over the world and I've never met such good sports as I have here in Whanganui."

Those who have been photographed by Munro will know that he sometimes asks a lot of his subjects.


"Some people think I'm gruff but I always know what I'm going for and when people co-operate they get a good photo and I get the result I want for the paper."

One memorable subject was Tania Hansen who willingly submitted to stand in front of the Cooks Gardens clock tower back in 2006.

"It was a stinking hot day and she was happy to pose in a wetsuit with an inflatable duck around her waist and a snorkel.

"She didn't complain once and there have been a lot of others including politicians."

Former Prime Minister Bill English once climbed into a wheelie bin at Munro's request and many local politicians have gone above and beyond for the sake of a good photo.

Photographing people in distress has been very hard at times says, Munro.

"There have been times when I have felt myself 'bottle up' behind the lens and I'm glad that people can't see that because it would have probably made it worse for them."

Munro trained as a photographer with the British Army after he was wounded in combat and he says working at newspapers was a good transition into "civvie street".


Born in Lancashire in the UK, Munro lived in Whanganui as a child and went back to England as a teenager.

"After I was demobbed, I came to New Zealand to visit my parents who were living in Levin and I got a job at the Horowhenua Chronicle.

"Editor Dave Saunders gave me a go even though I had no newspaper experience and I have really enjoyed working with other editors and reporters since."

He also credits former Whanganui Chronicle reporter and editor John Maslin for a great deal of professional and personal support.

"I have found journalists, on the whole, to be very good people who have a lot of insight."

Armed combat experience gave Munro the ability to go where other photographers may fear to tread and many subjects have marvelled at his willingness to climb trees, lie on busy roads and scramble under hedges to get the best shot.

There were assignments that seemed too good to be true and they were.

Lord Lucan was not living in Whanganui Rd on the way to Marton and aliens had not landed in a paddock in Springvale but Munro, ever the professional, followed the leads just in case.

"I got a call from reporter Merania Karauria in the early hours one morning to say that strange lights had been reported in Springvale.

"It turned out the lights were coming from a party at Cooks Gardens and they did look strange bouncing off the clouds but Merania and I ended up standing in a wet paddock in the middle of the night while it seemed the rest of Whanganui were partying in town."

When Munro started work at the Chronicle in 2002, he was developing his images in a darkroom.

He quickly adapted to digital photography and in recent years he has become a dedicated videographer, continuing to go above and beyond for great footage.

In October, he lost a phone and camera to the Whanganui River while filming the duck race from the back of Plumber Dan's jetski.

You will be missed Stu but your archive of wonderful work remains both with the paper and the community.