By Emily Norman
A passionate “news man” and former editor of the Wairarapa Times-Age has died.
Andrew Wyatt, who was editor of the newspaper in the years 1983 – 2003, died at his Masterton home on Friday, aged 67.
Mr Wyatt, who was born in Whakatane, wore many hats in the media and publishing industry over the span of his career, but was always “a newspaper man at heart”.
Starting his career at a newspaper in Balclutha, Mr Wyatt went on to be the News Editor of the Dominion and later the editor of the Wairarapa Times-Age.
His wife Paula said he had also dabbled in Australian publishing, working a stint at the Daily Mirror in Sydney.
“It was a Murdoch paper and they told him he’d never get anywhere because he wore suede shoes – which Murdoch hated.”
“So he did about two years there.”
She said when the family moved to Wairarapa, Mr Wyatt changed the Wairarapa Times-Age completely from a style she had described as being “almost like a newsletter”.
“He was quite fearless, but also patient,” she said.
“Everybody that worked with him really liked him.
“He was smart and very funny, good with a quick quip, you know.”
She said Mr Wyatt had wanted to go to Journalism school in Christchurch after working at the Dominion in the 70s, “but they told him he was too qualified”.
“I mean, what could they teach him that he didn’t already know?”
Former Wairarapa Times-Age chief subeditor Kevin McCarthy said he always admired how Mr Wyatt treated staff.
“I always admired how he gave me the confidence and support to do my job, and backed my decisions,” Mr McCarthy said.
“But when things got really tough, he made sure it was his call.”
Mr McCarthy said he remembered in particular the newspaper’s front page for the Ratima tragedy funeral “where we weighed up photo options for the front page, including a very sad though shocking picture of the row of pre-dug graves”.
“Andrew in the end opted for the graves photo.
“I’ve no doubt he wore a lot of public backlash over that, yet that did not shake him in his decision.
“He was a fine mentor, a terrible mumbler, and carried under it all a great sense of humour.”
Former Times-Age reporter, Rachel Burt, said Mr Wyatt had a “quiet encouragement” and was supportive of young journalists.
“He had that ability to see something in us we may not have seen in ourselves,” she said.
Mr Wyatt had four children, and three grandchildren.
His daughter Zoe said she remembered when “Dad would babysit us, and we would get to see the paper being printed or sit in the dark room where the photographs were being processed”.
“He was a workaholic, because he was passionate – passionate about his work, and his family.”
Mr Wyatt resigned from the Wairarapa Times-Age in 2003 and was diagnosed with lung cancer the following year.
“We had him for about 13 years since that, so we’re pretty lucky really,” his wife said.
Mr Wyatt died from a heart attack.
His funeral service will be held at Wairarapa Funeral Services, 35 Lincoln Road, Masterton on Thursday, 2 February 2017, at 2pm.