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Taranaki Journalism Scholarship

Taranaki Journalism Scholarship

A family relationship with the Taranaki Daily News spanning more than 100 years has resulted in the establishment of a scholarship for aspiring journalists.

Funds for the James (Snr) and Mary Garcia Scholarship – which will also eventually encompass music -- come from the estate of the late Veda Garcia, a primary school teacher whose career embraced New Plymouth, Bulls and Leamington.

The 2010 journalism scholarship could be worth up to $5000 for successful candidates.

Miss Garcia, who retired in New Plymouth, died last year.

Her father, the late James Garcia, began the family association with the newspaper about 1905 while managing a timber mill at Opunake.

He became an agent for the Daily News and in 1909 joined the reporting staff at New Plymouth where he worked until dying suddenly on his way to a dairy company meeting in 1943.

Mr Garcia was well known for his reporting on the rural scene and his views were often sought at gatherings such as dairy company meetings.

He served for many years on the management committee of the Taranaki Rugby Football Union, was president of the New Zealand School Committees’ Association and president of the Taranaki Boxing Association.

At the time of his death he was described as “the best known personality in Taranaki”.

A son, the late Barry Garcia, joined the literary staff of the paper three years later and later became the circulation manager, a position which was to embrace the Taranaki Herald when both New Plymouth papers came under the umbrella of Taranaki Newspapers Ltd.

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In 1948 the youngest son and now the sole survivor of a family of 10, Denis Garcia, also joined the newspaper, initially as office boy and later filling the roles of reporter, chief reporter and associate editor before becoming editor in 1981, a position he held until his retirement in 1991.

His relationship with the paper continues through his weekly 50 Years Ago column.

“My sister was extremely proud of the family association with the Taranaki Daily News and often talked of our father’s total commitment to journalism,” said Denis Garcia.

“It is particularly pleasing to see that the family association with journalism is to be perpetuated through my sister Veda’s generous gift of this scholarship.”

Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki journalism coordinator Robin Martin said the scholarship was a significant development for the profession in the province.

“Taranaki has a proud journalistic history and the Garcia’s generosity will help enable more young people to pursue the vocation.”

Application forms for the scholarship, which is for permanent residents of the Taranaki District -- with preference to former Westown Primary pupils – are available at the Public Trust, 24 Currie St, New Plymouth and the Witt reception on Bell St or contact Robin Martin on 06 575 3100 ext 8721 / 021 484 354 / r.martin@witt.ac.nz.

Applications close November 30.


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