HAYLEY GASTMEIER
hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

A man who was an integral part of the relaunch of the Wairarapa Times-Age as a locally owned, independent newspaper has had his hard work rewarded at a prestigious Australasian award ceremony.

Bevan Wills, the operations manager at the Times-Age, won Creative Services Professional of the Year at the 2017 PANPA Advertising & Marketing Awards in Sydney on Thursday.

PANPA is the largest media awards in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bevan said he was “absolutely rapt” to be recognised.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but I was really hoping I was going to get it,” he said.

“It’s pretty much the top award for someone in my job, and it’s just amazing to be able to have beaten big corporations.”

Bevan was up against finalists from the NZ Herald and Fairfax Media Australia.

Wairarapa born and raised, Bevan qualified as a graphic designer and moved into a position at the Times-Age 14 years ago.

He was awarded APN Designer of the Year in 2012, and nominated for the 2015 PANPA Creative Professional of the Year.

He also designed the front page that went on to win NZME’s 2015 Regional Front Page of the year, and was an integral part of the Times-Age that took out NZME’s 2015 Newspaper of the Year.

When the company was sold into local hands last year, the newspaper had to be rebuilt “from the ground up”, much of which Bevan can take credit for.

Times-Age Publisher Andrew Denholm said Bevan was an incredibly hard worker, a key member of the senior management team, and his award was well-deserved.

“We are a small newspaper and we beat out the largest newspaper in New Zealand.”

Bevan's hard-earned award. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Bevan’s hard-earned award. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER