Sharon Stephenson wins award as travel writer of the year

Press Release – Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards
Wellington’s Sharon Stephenson won the Cathay Pacific Travel Writer of the Year Award and Auckland’s Babiche Martens took the Cathay Pacific Travel Photographer of the Year Award, presented tonight at the Travel Media Awards Gala Dinner at the Heritage Auckland’s Grand Tearoom.

The Cathay Pacific Travel Media awards are organised by Travcom (New Zealand Travel Communicators) to celebrate excellence in travel writing and photography.

Stephenson took top spot with her story “Roman Holiday – Food and Flirting” published in the Dominion Post.  Stephenson is a Wellington-based freelance writer, editor, copywriter and PR consultant.

The writing judge was William Fraser, based in Hong Kong, editor-in-chief of the six Cathay Pacific and Dragonair magazines and digital products, former editor of Qantas magazine, founder of Australian Financial Review magazine and Boss magazine.  He is a former literary and food editor who has worked in magazines, newspapers, book publishing, radio and television.  Fraser said “The winner of the Cathay Pacific Travel Writer of the Year award is someone I would relish setting out with. This is a writer who has clearly already done the necessary research to be knowledgeable about the destination. But is also prepared to go with the flow when necessary and surrender to the spontaneous opportunities that travel throws up. The writer also has the necessary joie de vivre so essential in a travelling companion. But more than anything else, this was a writer with a sense of humour.

“Roman Holiday is a con brio piece of writing that from the outset made me smile and then laugh out loud. While relatively concise, it is entertaining and amusing, and the exuberant verve of the writing and enthusiasm for the subject – her unabashed enjoyment of Italian food and waiters – propels the reader through the piece. It has enough information to allow readers to follow in her footsteps and is a welcome reminder that travel can, and probably should, be fun. She enjoyed her holiday and so did I.”

William Fraser judged all travel writing categories excluding the New Travel Writer of the Year award, which was judged by Metro staff writer Steve Braunias. Steve has won the Cathay Pacific Travel Writer of the Year Award three times, and he describes his latest book, Civilisation: 20 Places at the Edge of the World, as “a kind of gothic travel book, set in Mosgiel, Tangimoana and other destinations which are at once bland and amazing”.  The winner of the AA Directions New Travel Writer of the Year Award is Brian Luby of Dunedin, for “Tunnel, Laughter and Giants”.  Braunias said “Brian’s story was about a hole in the ground. Writing about a tunnel was an ambitious task – it could so easily have been a small bore. But Brian’s genuine sense of wonder is infectious. He takes the reader with him, back to the 1870s when the 72 steps of tunnel were first dug, then to the present day, when he dares to compare it to the Grand Canyon. Who dares, wins. I loved every syllable of this witty and thoroughly engaging piece of writing.”

The winner of Cathay Pacific Travel Photographer of the Year Award is Babiche Martens, a photographer for the NZ Herald.

The photography awards were judged by: Bela Trussell-Cullen, a veteran magazine designer and art director, who has worked for many years on Metro and North & South and who is currently art director of New Idea magazine; Aaron K, an Auckland-based commercial photographer with over 13 years of industry experience. He’s also a past president and the current executive director of the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers’ Association; and Tony Bridge, a professional photographer, artist and photography educator based in Hanmer Springs.  The Cathay Pacific Travel Photographer of the Year Award was judged on the entire portfolio of images entered in every award category.

Aaron K said “We chose Babiche Martens as the winner because we found her portfolio very contemporary and original. In a medium that can attract cliche’s Babiche’s unique vision was refreshing. She has been innovative with her choice of subject matter and composition, while also demonstrating excellent technical control and consistency. All of her images were perfectly exposed, resulting in strong saturated colours. We feel she has an educated eye that pushes the boundaries of the travel photography genre.”

Stephenson and Martens each win a return economy class ticket, upgradeable on a space available basis, to Hong Kong travelling with Cathay Pacific plus three nights at the renowned Peninsula Hong Kong which is celebrating 85 years of Peninsula hospitality in 2013.  The winners will also be hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board to experience the marvels of Hong Kong.

The awards were MCed by comedian Brendhan Lovegrove.

WINNERS:
Cathay Pacific Travel Writer of the Year:

Winner:   Sharon Stephenson

Auckland Airport Award for the Best Magazine Travel Story
Winner:    Venetia Sherson, for “Autumn in Tuscany”, published in NZ Life & Leisure magazine, Jan/Feb 2012
Runner up: Miranda Spary, for “Turkish Delight”, published in NZ Life & Leisure magazine, March/April 2012
Runner up:   Steve Braunias, for “With the Springboks”, published in Metro Magazine, January 2012

Westpac Award for the Best Newspaper Travel Story
Winner:    Sharon Stephenson, for “Roman Holiday – Food and Flirting”, published in the Dominion Post, August 2012
Runner up:   Michele Hewitson, for “Gone to the Chiens in the City of Light”, published in the NZ Herald, November 2012
Runner up:   Venetia Sherson, for “High Rise Journey to the Dark Side”, published in the NZ Herald, November 2012

Heritage Hotels Award for the Best Travel Story about New Zealand
Winner: Mike White, for “Old Gold”, published in North & South magazine, November 2012
Runner up: Joanna Wane, for “When Wally met Sally”, published in North & South magazine, May  2012
Runner up:   Sarah Lang, for “A River Runs Through It”, published in North & South magazine, April 2012

Interislander Award for the Best Story about a Journey
Winner: Steve Braunias, for “Great South Road Trip”, published in Metro magazine, April 2012
Runner up: Robin Charteris, for “Travels with the Beast”, published in the Otago Daily Times, March 2012
Runner up:   Steve Braunias, for “The Train”, published in Metro Magazine, June 2012

British High Commission and Tourism Ireland Award for the Best Travel Story about Britain and/or Ireland
Winner: Colin Hogg, for “A Writer’s Trail”, published in the NZ Herald, June 2012
Runner up: Sharon Stephenson, for “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”, published in the Dominion Post, March 2012
Runner up:    Jill Worrall, for “Where Monks’ Memories Linger”, published in the Timaru Herald, August 2012

NZ Maori Tourism Award for the Best Travel Story about a Maori Tourism Experience
Winner: Mike White, for “Once Upon an Island”, published in North & South magazine, June 2012
Runner up: Pamela Wade, for “Parihaka: Keeping the Peace”, published in the NZ Herald, January 2012A
Runner up:  Liz Light, for “A Weekend in the Hokianga”, published in North & South magazine, October 2012

Rhys Brookbanks Memorial Award for the Best Travel story published about Canterbury or highlighting Christchurch
Winner: Jane Warwick, for “Phoenixes and All That”, published in NZ Life & Leisure magazine,November 2012
Runner up: Mike White, for “A Weekend in Little River”, published in North & South magazine, March 2012A
Runner up:  Paul Rush, for “Bridged Waters Troubles Over”, published in the Dominion Post, November 2012

AA Directions Magazine Award for the Best New Travel Writer
Winner:    Brian Luby, for “Tunnel, Laughter and Giants”
Runner Up:    Linda Maser, “for A Bangkok Adventure”
Highly Commended:    Hugh Blomfield, for “Sabah’s Turtle Island”
Highly Commended:    David Patterson, for “The Brussels Experience”
Highly Commended:    Karen Prebensen, for “Salt of the Earth”

Cathay Pacific Travel Photographer of the Year
Winner:    Babiche Martens
Runner Up:    Tessa Chrisp

Auckland Airport Award for the Best Travel Image taken in New Zealand
Winner:    Joshua Windsor, for his image published in NZ Geographic magazine in November 2012 of a rock climber  scaling the challenging Babylon Crag while on holiday in Fiordland.
Runner Up:    Fay Looney, for her image published in Taranaki, Be Here,  Be Surprised, September 2012 For her image of Opunake Beach, travellers  mid-winter photo shoot
Runner Up:    James Heremaia, for his image published in Our New Zealand,  summer 2012 The Northern Explorer passenger train crosses  the Waiteti viaduct south of Te Kuiti

FUJIFILM X Award for the Best Travel Image taken Outside New Zealand
Winner: Tessa Chrisp, for her image published in NZ Life & Leisure magazine, Jan/Feb 2012 Vanuatu’s low lying Maskelyn islands, dug out canoe
Runner Up: Peter Graney, for his image published in the Rotorua Review in October 2012 Chickens arrive for slaughter by Moto at the Orasay markets, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Runner Up:    Amos Chapple, for his image published in the Guardian, Tourists at Danyia Landform, Zhangyzi, China

AA Directions Magazine Award for the Best Travel Image with People
Winner:    Tessa Chrisp for her image published in NZ Life & Leisure magazine, Jan/Feb 2012 Malekula Island Vanuatu, locals in a ute
Runner Up:    Babiche Martens, for her image published in the NZ Herald in May 2012 A driver focusses intently on the rear vision mirror
Runner Up:    Amos Chapple, for his image published in the Guardian, A Kurdish man guards road working machinery.

NZ Maori Tourism Award for the Best Travel Image Capturing the Essence of Maori
Winner: Peter Drury, for his image published in the Waikato Times in March 2012 Waka and crews salute international dignitaries at the 116th Ngaruawahia regatta held at the Turangawaewae marae
Runner Up:    James Heremaia, for his image published in the Taranaki Daily Mail in May 2012 The tangi of the iconic soloist Hui Kahu
Runner Up:   Liz Light, for her image published in North & South magazine in October 2012 Rod Penney and his horses on Mitimiti beach, Northland.

Heritage Boutique Collection Award for the Best Unpublished Travel Image
Winner:    Lindsay Keats, for his image of boys playing soccer in Quarzazate, Morocco
Runner up:    Liz Light, for her image of dawn beauty, Chilka Lake, Orissa, India
Runner up:     Karin Charteris, for her image of a family group travelling to market in Udaipur, India.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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