Meet the Team
Message from the Editor
The Flagstaff has always prided itself on providing the local community with insightful and relevant news and views. We like to think of this as, “News you can’t get online!”
Our experienced journalists are passionate and knowledgeable about Devonport. The paper is a focal point of news for the community, with the expertise to report on issues that affect local families and businesses and break news — national broadcasters, newspapers and other media regularly follow up stories and features from The Devonport Flagstaff. The paper has won numerous journalism awards (listed below).
The Flagstaff Team
Managing Editor Rob Drent, a journalist for 40 years, has been at the helm since October 1997. He has worked in New Zealand and England on community, daily and Sunday newspapers, and magazines, including the Auckland Sun, Dominion Post and Sunday Star-Times. A former community newspaper journalist of the year, Rob loves getting his teeth into contentious issues. He enjoys tennis, squash, reading and tramping.
Peter has had extensive experience in online advertising with classified listings sites (jobs and real estate) and built several successful online brands in Asia. He moved to Devonport from Tokyo in 2015 and very soon realised that the number one media in the community was the Devonport Flagstaff. Peter grew up in Brisbane and graduated from the University of Queensland with a degree majoring in Journalism.
Janetta is a long-standing journalist who edits the Rangitoto Observer and is chief reporter of the Devonport Flagstaff. She brings news editing and layout skills to these tasks, forged in a career in daily newspapers, with a diversion to women’s magazines and feature writing. A former Weekend Herald Editor and New Zealand Herald Assistant Editor, she these days enjoys working close to home in Hauraki and delving into issues that impact North Shore communities.
Lochlan attained a communications degree from the Auckland University of Technology in 2022 and brings to the paper the added bonus of local knowledge. He grew up in Takapuna and Bayswater and attended Takapuna Grammar School. With interests ranging from music to sport and a keen desire to grow a career in journalism, he adds a youthful perspective to the paper.
Brendon de Suza
Brendon is an freelance graphic designer and illustrator with decades of experience working with large international ad agencies and brands. Devonport Flagstaff is one of his many “illustrious” set of current clients which also include companies like Hitachi, Blackmores and Lincoln Wines. Brendon handles the paper’s production and can custom-design ads for clients upon request.
The Devonport Flagstaff is a member of the New Zealand Community Newspaper Association (CNA) and has been recognised many times in the annual Independent Better Newspapers and Independent Community Newspapers Better Journalist and Photographers competitions. The Devonport Flagstaff is a member of the New Zealand Community Newspaper Association (NZCNA) and has been recognised many times in its annual award for journalism and photographic excellence. It has also won Voyager and Canon national media awards. Among the awards won by the Flagstaff and the team are:
Community Newspaper of the Year – Voyager Media Awards — Finalist 2023
Community Newspaper Journalist of the Year – Voyager Media Awards — Winner 2018, Runner-up 2019, Finalist 2022
NZCNA Best Community Involvement — Winner in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016. Runner-up 2020, 2021
Best Headline — Winner 2012, 2013, 2014
Best Innovation — winner 2022
Special project (Destination Devonport) — Winner in 2016, 2019 and 2020
Most Improved Newspaper — Winner 2010, 2011, 2012
Best Senior Reporter, Best Sports — Winner 2009, 2010, 2013, Runner-up 2021
Best Overall Newspaper — Finalist 2002, 2003, 2007, 2021. Runner-up 2021
Best Junior Reporter — Winner 2001, 2002, 2005, 2013, 2014, 2015
Best Junior Photographer — Winner 2001, 2018
Best Senior and Junior Feature writer — Winner 2015
Metro Magazine, Best of Auckland Best Community Newspaper — Winner in 2006; runner up in 2005.
CANON Community Reporter of the Year — Finalist in 2015 and 2016
CANON Community Newspaper of the Year — Finalist in 2017
One of its most successful community campaigns was in 2011 which saw the eradication of the synthetic cannabis drug Kronic from Devonport diaries. The campaign was covered by national TV and radio, and many other communities across Auckland and the rest of the country began asking their local dairies to stop selling it. The Flagstaff received numerous emails and calls from parents congratulating the paper on its stance.
Other key campaigns run by the Flagstaff have also been recognised by awards. These include: the successful backing of Victoria Theatre supporters to reopen the performance facility; the editorial stand the paper took against the government which helped save coastal land at Fort Takapuna from residential development, and the paper’s ongoing commitment to retain the built heritage of the historic suburb.
The Flagstaff donates several advertising pages per year to causes and arts groups it supports. Community groups, sports clubs, schools and churches are also given discounted advertising.
Origins of Flagstaff
The Devonport Flagstaff masthead has two origins. The suburb was originally called Flagstaff until renamed Devonport, after the naval town in England. Flagstaff/Devonport played an important role in Auckland commerce in the early years of the city. A signalman’s house was located on Mt Victoria (still there today as the Michael King Writers’ Centre). When ships were approaching Devonport, the signalman would fly signal flags to alert merchants in downtown Auckland to which goods the ships were carrying. The merchants would then rush down to the waterfront to upload the goods.