Sue Miller recognised for her services to agricultural journalism in 2022 New Year Honours

Posted: 19-Jan-2022

Sue Miller has contributed to agricultural journalism over four decades. We were delighted to see her contribution to the Guild recognised in the New Year Honours.

Sue Miller became Greymouth Evening Star’s first female journalist in 1971 and went on to work with the Bay of Plenty Times and Northern Advocate, before moving to Wellington in 1977. She held several press and public affairs roles before beginning her involvement with the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators (NZGAJC).

Sue Miller
Sue Miller and Jackie Harrigan at the NZGAJC Awards Dinner 2020

She was national secretary and awards administrator of NZGAJC from 2003 until her retirement in 2020, a largely voluntary role with a small honorarium. She carried out the Guild’s administration, liaised with the National Executive, managed events, produced a newsletter, and maintained relationships with sponsors. Her key contribution was the development of the Guild’s journalism awards, presented annually. She is well regarded for ensuring Guild operations ran smoothly and for her efforts in recruiting and retaining membership. She organised conferences for the Guild’s 50th and 60th anniversaries and spearheaded the Guild’s hosting of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) World Congress in 2015, which attracted 150 journalists from 30 countries. She raised $200,000 to hold the event and surplus funds from the event have been re-invested into the Guild for annual travel grants. Mrs Miller represented NZGAJC at several IFAJ conferences around the world.

In 2020, six former Guild presidents paid tribute to her abilities at her final Awards Dinner in October before steeping down from her role. Their comments included:

“Every organisation needs someone like Sue Miller to get stuff done behind the scenes and remember all the things that have happened in the past,” said Tony Leggett (2006-2007), now owner of Farm Life Media Ltd.

“She is such a calm, confident presence, quietly making sure everything goes smoothly behind the scenes,” said Janet Tyson (2008-2009)

“She has what many journos lack, a tidy brain,” said Jon Morgan (2012-2013), the Dominion Post’s farming editor from 2002-2013 and editor of NZ Farmer from 2014-2018. “With consummate ease, no doubt honed by plenty of practise over the years, she keeps several balls in the air at the same time … even keeping a wool-brained president in line, all the while maintaining a firm grip on reality and exercising tact with calm determination.”

Mick Calder (2010-2011) co-author of the book Meat Acts, praised her organisational and administrative abilities and her: “tenacity in ensuring people met deadlines they had been set.”

Elaine Fisher (2017-2018) praised her commitment to raising the standard and promoting excellence in agricultural journalism and communications. “It is thanks to Sue that the Guild has such a long-standing relationship with the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.”

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