Forum editor volunteers abroad

Aug 28th, 2018 | By | Category: Latest News, Local People
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Tamahere Forum editor Philippa Stevenson heads to the Solomon Islands early next month to put her journalism skills to use as a Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) volunteer.

Philippa Stevenson


Stevenson, who founded and has run Tamahere Forum for 10 years, will spend six months in the Solomons’ capital Honiara as a newsroom and editorial adviser for a small, independent newspaper publisher.

The former NZ Herald and Waikato Times journalist said she was thrilled to have the opportunity to volunteer with VSA.

“I’ve looked out for a VSA job that I could do for many years,” Stevenson said.

“Finally, in March this year I spotted this one and just knew it was something I could do. It will be great to be able to put my experience to good use.”

VSA is New Zealand’s largest and most experienced volunteering agency working in international development. It sends about 200 skilled Kiwis a year overseas to share their experience and knowledge directly with local people and communities.

“What I like about the VSA model is that groups, organisations or companies apply to VSA for the skilled help they need,” Stevenson said. “It is need-driven not someone remote deciding what help they will provide.”

Stevenson’s role will be to provide newsroom and editorial advice to Isles Media, a newspaper publishing company founded in 2009 by publisher Lynda Wate Seni.

Seni, who was named the 2016 Business Woman of the Year by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce, and also winner of the Industry Business Achiever Award the same year by the Solomon Island Women in Business Association, publishes three weekly newspapers with a small and hardworking team. They are the Sunday Isles Newspaper, Raw Sports Newspaper, and Solomon Women Newspaper.

Stevenson has been preparing for the trip since learning in early July she had been selected for the position. (After applying for a VSA position candidates go through a two-day selection interview process.)

“Going from a Waikato winter to Solomons’ 30C degree heat is going to take a bit of getting used to but it’ll just be one of many adjustments I’ll have to make. I’m looking forward to all kinds of change.”

Tamahere Forum is to be left in the hands of another Tamahere journalist, Marg Forde, along with the editor of its Number8Network sister site, Annette Taylor.

Stevenson said she hoped to be able to continue writing stories for the Forum from the Solomon Islands but work demands and the likelihood of slow internet speeds meant it was sensible to have reliable back-up.

For more about VSA and volunteering click here.

To support VSA and Stevenson’s volunteering effort go here.

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6 Comments to “Forum editor volunteers abroad”

  1. Jo Wells says:

    What a wonderful contribution you will make. We will miss you. Stay safe. Jo

  2. Dear Tamahere Forum
    13 days to go! We are all looking forward to hearing about your experiences in the Solomon Islands – it will be amazing. Keep an eye out for those monitor lizards in the mangroves and send back photos of hornbills. Fabulous times ahead.
    Working for VSA in a newsroom in Honiara is a brilliant thing to do, and a great way to pass on some of your skills and insights gained from a lifetime in journalism. All the best.
    Much love, sister site Number 8 Network

  3. Wonderful news! What an amazing contribution you are likely to make in the Solomon Islands. Well done for volunteering your skills. Best wishes Dorothy (and John)

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