EXPANSION OF AOTY

31 March 2020

An exceptionally-high calibre of candidates combined with the desire to recognise the broadening shape of the New Zealand print industry, has resulted in PrintNZ naming an unprecedented Top 12 Apprentices of the Year finalists for 2020.

Expanded from a traditional Top 10, this year’s Top 12 (in alphabetical order) entails:

  • Parth Bhatt of McHargs, Christchurch (Binding and Finishing)
  • Thomas Bloxham of Southern Colour Print, Dunedin (Binding and Finishing)
  • Aleshia Edens of James Print, Greymouth (Digital Printing)
  • Vanessa Hooton of Tainui Press, Matamata (Digital Printing)
  • Ryan Scott-Fellows of Hally Labels, Christchurch (Reelfed Printing)
  • Emma Maxwell of EIL, Christchurch (Screen Printing)
  • David O’Brien of Sign Network, Christchurch (Signmaking)
  • Nurudin Pelenda of Ovato, Auckland (Sheetfed Printing)
  • Bonny Seymour of the Gisborne Herald, Gisborne (Reelfed Printing)
  • Matthew Stockford of Gravure Packaging, Wellington (Reelfed Printing)
  • Koshy Thomas of Oji Fibre Solutions Paper Bag Auckland (Reelfed Printing)
  • Kadin Woods of Mirage Visual, Palmerston North (Signmaking)
  • PrintNZ general manager Ruth Cobb laments that given this year marked both the debut of signmakers/specialty graphics and the difficulty judges had narrowing down the quality candidates, they could not be given due peer recognition at the traditional Graduation Ceremonies.




“Even prior to the Prime Minister’s Level 1 COVID-19 announcement on March 14, PrintNZ had taken the decision, with much regret, that we would cancel the upcoming ceremonies,” says Ms Cobb.

“For the safety of our industry and communities, we needed to show leadership and make that decision – and, subsequently, that call has of course been validated by the rapid escalation to Level 4.

“However, an unavoidable and unfortunate consequence is we haven’t been able to announce the Top 12 in deserved fashion in front of their families, friends and colleagues.

“We very much want to ensure the Top 12 receive the full prestige that their dedicated and outstanding efforts warrant. Their Competenz training advisors and employers/managers alike have praised them in the highest terms, and we encourage the industry and our media stakeholders to afford due recognition to these very worthy finalists.”

At the forefront of developments

Expanding on this year’s decision to encompass signmakers/speciality graphics in the Top 12, Ms Cobb says PrintNZ strives to provide leadership as appropriate and keep at the forefront of evolutions within the sector.

“There are many overlapping areas within sign and print – in many cases the work is produced on the same machinery, with printers making signs and signmakers doing printing.

“As our industry continues to evolve, so too should our celebrations of people and products and so we are thrilled this year for the first time to have two signmaking graduates included in our Top 12.”

In similar vein, Ms Cobb says given the Top 5 Apprentices of the Year will likely miss out on the exhilaration of appearing on stage at the Pride In Print Awards Evening, given its postponement, her team has a new initiative in mind to bring extra focus on those finalists.

“Watch this space!”

For further information please E-mail PrintNZ general manager Ruth Cobb at ruth.cobb@printnz.co.nz or phone 027 248 9404.