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20 May 2008

Whammers win top deer award


WHAM principals Angie Fussell & Trevor Walton are winners of the 2008 Deer Industry Award. The award, which was presented at the NZ Deer Farmers Association Conference in Invercargill last week, was for an "unparalleled 30 year contribution to the deer industry".

The couple were part of a team that launched The Deer Farmer magazine in 1979 from their living room in Carterton, Wairarapa.

Trevor (pictured), who at various times worked as publisher, editor and writer for the magazine, was also awarded honorary membership of the NZ Deer Farmers' Association and was keynote speaker at the conference. Angie's roles included sub-editing, advertising sales and publication management.

Unusually, for a small industry, The Deer Farmer is subscription-based and editorially independent of industry organisations. Under Angie and Trevor's ownership it developed a reputation for in-depth reporting and a willingness to challenge vested interests.

In particular, the magazine locked antlers with meat industry giant PPCS when it opposed the industry's Cervena marketing initiative during the early 1990s. PPCS is now a Cervena franchisee.

Although Angie and Trevor operate WHAM Public Relations, they took pains to ensure that their clients' interests did not influence the editorial policy of the magazine. In August 2007, they sold The Deer Farmer to Country-Wide Publications, Feilding.

These days, Angie is executive director of YWCA Aotearoa New Zealand. Trevor remains principal of Wellington-based WHAM Public Relations which numbers some major primary sector organisations among its clients.

- Sam Post

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