year-by-year – the unfolding story
Twenty five thrilling, exhausting, nerve-wracking years – that’s what we’ve had with Grapevine! How are we supposed to squeeze all that into one small web-page? Anyway, here it is, our unfolding story … a trip down Grapevine’s memory lane. (And for those whose paths may have crossed with ours a decade earlier … a nostalgic look at Grapevine’s long forgotten, “almost controversial” predecessor: Reach Out magazine!) Please pour yourself a coffee, find a quiet corner, turn the TV off, and travel back with us to when it all began …
Hard to believe, but after two years of dreaming and scheming, it’s HAPPENING! We’re actually under way. The first issue of Grapevine hits Auckland streets in June. It’s a big, floppy, large-format magazine (remember it?) featuring 'WHEN I RELAX I FEEL GUILTY' – and it goes free to 250,000 homes.
On page 5, we introduce ourselves as ‘The Keepers of the Vine’: “Well, hi there! Welcome to Grapevine magazine! We hope you’ll READ it, of course. And whether you’re a mum, dad, single, married, rhubarb-grower, meter-maid, cost-accountant, teenager, kid, unemployed, student, worker, you-name-it … we hope that you’ll LIKE what you read.
“You might be wondering who we are. We are very ordinary, quite safe, mostly respectable, not at all dangerous, sometimes funny, alike in many ways, unalike in many others, and more-than-a-little-bit scared about being responsible for a project as big as this …”
Scared? You bet we are! This step-into-the-unknown is HUGE …
In March we profile Cliff Richard: 'WIRED FOR SOUND' … and in May we tackle affairs: 'THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER – OR IS IT?' Columns by Erma Bombeck and Merv Smith are proving popular … and Grapevine’s counselling service, Openline, opens for business.
Readers (most of ‘em) LOVE the new magazine. A few householders don’t even bother opening it – they think it’s a wine catalogue! Six issues down the track, UPDATE (our supporters newsletter) sounds the first note of panic … “URGENT FROM THE EDITOR: I find this a very difficult letter to write. Grapevine is in serious trouble, and what I’m about to tell you is critically important …”
With no working capital and low ad sales, our available funds are disappearing fast. But, thankfully, Grapevine’s supporters come to the party. Generously. And the next UPDATE reports … “A few weeks ago, Grapevine’s future looked very bleak. I am now able to tell you that the crisis has been averted. Our prayers and hopes are being realised …”
We live to fight another battle! Phew!
We experiment with celebrities on our covers: Princess Diana … Mother Teresa … Return of the Jedi. And we brave some controversial topics: 'VIRGIN TERRITORY: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION?' and 'SUFFERING: WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?'
5000 extra copies of our special 'CHRIST-MASS-PRODUCED' edition are given to motels and motorcamps around the greater Auckland region.
Colourful Grapevine T-shirts sell out overnight. (Well, not quite overnight.)
A letter from Jenny declares: “I’ve been meaning to write and tell you how unbelievably good I find your magazine …”
And untold other letters say things like: “Grapevine is so refreshing – so open hearted and open minded! I know you’re reaching friends of mine, and I appreciate that very much.”
We launch 'PIPSQUEAKS' – a new section for kids. And pick a fight with our March edition on: 'HOMOSEXUALITY'. An angry reader spits tacks and paints graffiti all over our office wall.
We get out of the office and meet hundreds of supporters in a series of ‘Great Apple Pie Nites’. And in June we change Grapevine to a smaller size/format. (Readers thank us: it’s easier to handle in bed and on the loo!)
“The influence of your magazine on people’s thinking is immeasurable,” raves one of our fans.
But in the September UPDATE the Editor is forced to admit: “Asking for money is one of the hardest things I have to do. I’m never quite sure where to start or what to say. But … the truth is, we can’t live without you. And the next three months are going to be tougher than usual …”
However, the latest McNair Survey results cheer us no end, rating Grapevine the best-read magazine amongst Aucklanders 10 years of age and over! Yee-haa!
Our July cover story 'WHEN MEN GET THE MIDLIFE CRAZIES' alerts men (and their wives) to the danger: “You kissed goodbye to acne and adolescence years ago. You made it into marriage and coped with dirty nappies, runny noses and toy cars on the front steps. You finally got your family budget and house payments sorted out. And then WHAM! It hit you …”
The Editor makes a midlife statement by growing a beard. And Neville Logan’s 'CARTOON CLUB' proves a big hit with kids.
Grapevine puts on a banquet (oo-la-la!) at the Hyatt-Kingsgate: “‘Twas a night to remember! 400 friends, loads of fun, superb music, great food, and some very exciting, keep-’em-sitting-on-the-edge-of-their-seats announcements” … including our upcoming Grapevine launch in Whangarei.
Eric of Onehunga sends this bouquet: “I applaud what you’re doing. In a world where quality is becoming the select preserve of those wealthy enough to afford it, it is refreshing to have a publication like Grapevine. You have ensured that this is quality which everyone can afford – and become richer for it.”
In May we publish our 50th edition! (And cynics who’d laid bets that Grapevine wouldn’t survive lose a fortune!) In July we spend a day in jail, researching our cover-story 'DOING TIME!' And in August we pinpoint a NZ disease: 'THE VANISHING FATHER' (dads who disappear, couldn’t care less, are always too busy, and are failing as fathers).
Bill Cosby’s hilarious column appears. And the Editor shaves off his beard (but leaves his moustache).
Our March UPDATE asks: “Have you ever been driving in a strange city, and found yourself at a busy intersection with not the foggiest idea which way to go, while cars queue up behind you honking their horns impatiently … and you sit paralysed and panicking, wishing the road would open up and swallow you whole?
That’s how we felt last month as, after five hectic years on the road, our Feb issue jarred to a halt and we struggled to find funds …” We invite supporters to give the little guy (i.e. Grapevine) a fighting chance.
The response is so encouraging that we decide to do something else that experts reckon we can’t possibly do: set up our very own VOLUNTEER magazine delivery network!
“It’s a bit like eating an elephant,” we announce, as our search for more legs gets serious: “You start with one bite – and you just keep nibbling!” (Which sounds wonderful, unless you’re an elephant …)
Grapevine sponsors a series of marvellous two-day ‘wilderness camps’ – designed to bring dads and their boys together in stimulating adventure-type settings. The Editor attends with his younger son, and nearly kills himself abseiling.
Our February mag explores life-before-birth: 'WOMB MATES' (with amazing colour photos) … in August we expose '16 SILLY MYTHS ABOUT OLD AGE' … and in September we upset a few gloomy types with 'A TERRIBLY SERIOUS ISSUE: NOT A LAUGHING MATTER' – hilarious cover-to-cover FUN!
But there’s nothing funny about the October Grapevine. It tells 'CARRIE’S STORY' – a courageous little 10-year-old who died of cancer – and easily ranks as the most moving Grapevine ever!
“I cried my way through it,” writes more than one reader. “I am deeply touched by Carrie’s bravery and faith in God.”
We get stuck into some more tough topics: 'THE STRESS FACTOR' … 'BLENDED FAMILIES' … 'DEPRESSION: BATTLING THE BLUES' … and 'AT-HOME VIOLENCE'.
Plus … we find time for the world premier of Grapevine’s new high-school video series – ‘Alive & Well’.
In July, we invade Hamilton with our very own Main Street Parade (no kidding!): vintage cars, horse’n’buggies, marching girls, fire engines, brass bands, cop cars, and Keepers giving away Grapevine balloons to all the kids. A week later, 33,000 mags are delivered to Waikato letterboxes!
But the Oct ’87 sharemarket crash is starting to hurt us, and by November, UPDATE is bleeding: “We hadn’t counted on this … felt it first in our cashflow department … everyone started paying us late … then some clients, in deep trouble, couldn’t pay us at all. But over the past few months, we’ve felt it even worse – as advertising budgets have been cut and advance ad bookings cancelled. OUCH!”
It takes a while for the dust to settle, but when it does we discover that the ‘crash’ has cost us more than $250,000! (Ouch indeed!)
Crash or no crash, Grapevine’s battle for families goes on. And we’re given the opportunity to market a ‘Fetal Models Kit’ – fantastic visual aids, beautifully made, and a great way to win respect for the miracle of conception/birth.
By some other miracle, the magazines keep coming out – 'SUPERWOMAN: MOTHERS ARE PEOPLE, TOO' … 'SEX EDUCATION: WHOSE JOB IS IT?' … 'RACE & REASON: NZ’S MAORI-PAKEHA CHALLENGE'.
But our July UPDATE tells the truth: “We’re still hurting. The economy may be picking up, but we’ve yet to feel the benefit. It’s tough out there in the world of business. We’re below budget, income wise, and having to work a great deal harder for every dollar Grapevine needs. In the meantime you have no idea what a joy it is to receive your gifts …”
The search for more legs continues. (Long legs, short legs, fat legs, skinny legs, smooth legs, hairy legs – we honestly don’t care!) And the search for more great cover-stories – 'EMPTY ARMS: WHEN A WOMAN MISCARRIES' … 'WATCHA WATCHING? CENSORING YOUR BRAIN FOOD' … 'TAKING THE NERVOUS OUT OF BREAKDOWN'.
We launch a bold Fight for the Family campaign – with Cliff Richard’s endorsement: “The older I get the more I realise how much my family matters to me. Families are too important to take for granted. Keeping families alive and well in our society takes a lot of work – they need all the help and encouragement they can get. And that’s why I recommend Grapevine magazine – it does a terrific job. So come on Kiwis – fight for the family! Join the Grapevine support team. You won’t regret it!”
We publish our purple 100th edition … say “Told you so!” to the cynics … say “Thank you!” to God and our friends … and say “We hope that for 100 more issues at least, Grapevine can keep scratching where people are itching!” to several hundred thousand readers.
Dollars are an ongoing gut-worry. And our June UPDATE admits: “Over the past few months, we’ve watched the ‘fuel-gauge’ at Grapevine creeping down. And last week, in spite of all our efforts, it hit ‘E’ for empty …”
But come July, we have more cheerful news: “There will be a lovely sound at our printer’s over the next few days – the sound of Grapevine magazines rolling off the presses!”
Our Directors send out a timely message: “The staff at Grapevine know how to fight for what they believe in – against all kinds of opposition. The fact that Grapevine is still here after 10 years is testimony to their courage, determination and faithfulness. It’s hard to measure the full impact the magazine has on readers. But the feedback we get leaves us in no doubt: it would be a sad day if New Zealand lost Grapevine!”
We recruit a large team of temporary phone operators, and promote Grapevine subscriptions via a huge telemarketing BLITZ of Auckland.
And, throughout the year, another two-million-plus magazines go (with love) into Kiwi homes: 'HAVE YOU DRUG-PROOFED YOUR KIDS?' … 'FIGHTING FAIR: COPING WITH CONFLICT AT HOME' … 'WHEN LIFE DEALS YOU A ROTTEN HAND' … 'THE TRUTH ABOUT AIDS'.
We hold our first-ever garage sale (mags, books, posters, shirts) … and publish our first (and last!) Summer Shop catalogue. More great mags come off the drawing boards – 'A PICK-ME-UP FOR THE UTTERLY POOPED' … 'PRAYER & OTHER SPOOKY STUFF' … 'INTIMACY' … plus 'THE DIARY OF A SELFISH PIG'.
The autumn UPDATE comes out of hibernation and declares: “It’s been a cold, hard, wet winter here at Grapevine. And we got stuck for a few months in a mid-year ‘hole’ caused by low advertising sales. But spring has sprung – and there are tiny signs of a much-awaited pick-up …” Ahh, hope lives eternal!
We offer the first-of-several Grapevine seminars at the Aotea Centre: ‘How To Succeed In Business Without Failing At Home’ – and it’s a winner! More magazines (where do the ideas come from?) get delivered by our letterbox troops: 'WHEN LOVE NEEDS TO BE TOUGH (REPAIRING FAMILIES)' … 'HOW TO WRECK A GOOD FRIENDSHIP' … 'ARE YOU RAISING A BRAT?'
And in the August UPDATE the Editor gets passionate:
“Did you see it? I saw it in the Herald. The awful story of Craig, a 10-year-old Dannevirke boy, who was frog-marched by his father from a school disco, flung bodily into the car, punched and driven off. At home, Craig kept repeating, ‘I’m sorry Dad’ as his father, who had been drinking all day, literally kicked the boy to death!
“Do you have sons of your own? I have. Two of them. And I can’t believe any father could do this. But I CAN believe this tragedy NEED NEVER HAVE HAPPENED!
“I’m sorry. I don’t normally get worked up. But this report has left me struggling. No, I haven’t got all the answers. But, you see, there’s a good chance Craig could still be alive today if his family had regular access to the kind of resources Grapevine specialises in …”
To mark the Year of the Family, we announce our ‘God’s Heart Breaks’ strategy – designed to put Grapevine into many more cities.
For the third year in a row, Grapevine wins a small pile of Qantas Media Awards. And we do our bit to raise the quality of parenting in NZ with more BIG piles of magazines: 'WHEN YOU’RE LABELLED DISABLED' … 'PARENT-WARS: EASY WAYS TO LOSE TOUCH WITH YOUR KIDS' … 'INFERTILITY' … 'NAG, NAG, NAG (AND OTHER GREAT WAYS TO COMMUNICATE)'.
The Editor gets passionate in UPDATE. Again! “On a recent wet Wednesday I had to attend an awfully sad funeral. An attractive 15-year-old girl, a friend of my daughter’s, had tried to say something or prove something by attempting suicide. Try as they might, Middlemore couldn’t save her – she’d taken too many pills – and, tragically, she died only three days later. Standing by her graveside I felt stunned and sickened. What a waste of such a young life! And what a shocking reminder to every parent: don’t postpone loving and laughing with your kids … grab the opportunities while you can … and never ever take them for granted!”
We ask our volunteers if they’d like to deliver Warehouse mailers (as a once-a-week fundraiser) – and most of ‘em say YES!
So we show our appreciation by publishing more top-class mags: 'THE DREADED DRAGON-IN-LAW' … 'VOLCANO IN YOUR HOME: WHEN TEENAGERS ERUPT' … 'BIRDS, BOOZE & BUSINESS: THREE GREAT MAN-TRAPS'.
Our patient supporters receive ‘A Very Long Letter from a Very Short Editor’ in which he rejoices:
“Once again, we’ve been faced with the obvious: Grapevine is bigger than any of us, and we can’t do it without your help! Once again, we’ve sensed that, in years to come, Grapevine could bless families on a scale we’ve never begun to IMAGINE!”
That’s followed by ‘A Shorter Letter from a Long-Winded Editor’: “I believe we all need a dream. A BIG dream. And we need to pursue that dream with all our might. Sure, there’s no shortage of tired cynics who’ll tell you it can’t be done … it’ll never work … it’s too expensive … it’s far to risky … you shouldn’t … you mustn’t … you won’t. And I’ve met plenty of them, I can tell you.
“But when it comes to the dream that Grapevine has – encouraging families, strengthening marriages, equipping parents in every corner of this beautiful country – I’m convinced the cynics are wrong.
“Do you know why? Because what they fail to allow for is YOU, and several thousand Grapevine friends like you! I mean, we’ve proved it: with God’s help and your help … OUR DREAMS CAN BE REALISED!”
We keep talking to Kiwis 'YOU DON’T TALK TO ME ANYMORE (THE LOST ART OF CONVERSATION)' … 'DADS CAN DO ANYTHING!' … 'GRANDMA’S SECRETS' … 'DRUGS: THE CANNABIS CONNECTION'. And more good news: regular mag deliveries begin at last in Christchurch and Wellington – hooray!
But our celebrations are spoiled by a major computer crash – a total hard-disk failure (say the techno-freaks) – and our obsolete equipment is condemned: Beyond Repair!
Not to be outdone, the Editor follows that up with a car crash: “My smart black Honda – nicest car I’ve ever had – got hit from behind last week (by an out-of-control lady in an out-of-control Mercedes) and has had to be written off!”
And we’d hoped that this might be a good year!
January’s UPDATE asks, “Will you give families the thumbs-up? Your donation will be well-spent, we promise you. And struggling Kiwi families will truly get value-for-money …”
June’s UPDATE shares an appalling statistic: “$1.2 million dollars an hour – that’s how much the Government is spending via social welfare, every hour of every day, trying to fix the mess this country is in because the family has fallen apart!” (If only we could get our hands on one-hour’s worth of that budget!)
And as the months slip by, Grapevine stays true to its mission, “giving families a lift”: 'KIDS THESE DAYS! (MAKING THEM MIND WITHOUT LOSING YOURS)' … 'BOUNDARIES: THE POWER OF NO!' … 'THE FORGOTTEN ART OF RAISING BOYS' … 'HAPPILY EVER AFTER! WHAT MAKES MARRIAGES LAST?'
Grapevine deliveries start in Dunedin and in Tauranga – and many thousands of homes get the magazine for the first time in history: 'MANHOOD: MORE THAN JUST A HAIRY CHEST' … 'DESPERATELY SEEKING GRANDMA' … 'CELEBRATION IN THE BEDROOM'.
The Editor turns 50 (please don’t tell anyone) and decides it’s time to get off the financial ‘roller-coaster’. Management staff begin making major changes, getting Grapevine ready for the new millennium:
we wind up our delivery arrangement with Warehouse mailers (and say THANKS to Stephen Tindall)
we wind down our volunteer delivery network (and say THANKS to thousands of faithful carriers and supervisors)
we turn Grapevine into a quarterly magazine (and say THANKS to everyone who replied to our survey)
we introduce STREET SPONSORSHIP – our strategy for the future!
Grapevine goes on a diet, and SLIMS-DOWN like you wouldn’t believe – from being a BIG organisation with lots of staff, to being a SMALL team of skilled specialists. Many tasks that were once performed ‘in house’ at our Mt Roskill office (and in other key cities around New Zealand) are now performed ‘off-site’ (do you like the buzz-words?) by contracted experts.
But some things never change: 'THE INCREDIBLE COST OF DIVORCE' gives readers-who-are-thinking-about-doing-it something else to think about. And 'HELL-RAISERS & HANDFULS' has a good word for parents: let’s view our strong-willed kids as ‘GIFTED CHILDREN’ rather than ‘problem-children’.
A ‘Grapevine 2000’ Capital Appeal seeks $300,000 to clean up the ‘baggage’ from the past … and ensure Grapevine never goes back on that financial ‘roller-coaster’.
As we head into the new millennium we do the numbers: 18 years down the tracks, we’ve created 183 separate editions and printed/delivered 43 million magazines! A HUGE amount of good done to a HUGE number of families.
“This is MMP, folks,” reports the Editor. “Massive Magazine Penetration!”
A NEW-LOOK Grapevine emerges – smaller size/format, more compact (same as Readers Digest) … much thicker (twice-as-many-pages) … with a tougher, glossy cover. Why the change? So Grapevine can go into letterboxes without being folded (or mangled!) … won’t half-hang-out, get wet, blow away … will be more durable (for flicking through, filing, future reference) ... and easier-than-ever to handle in bed or on the loo!
Content remains the same: quality research, tonnes of fun, family-friendly – plus a whole bunch of new ideas/columns/highlights! Like what? Well, like 'AT HOME WITH …' series, featuring ‘new Kiwis’ from all around the world.
“I love Grapevine!” writes Margaret. “I haven’t even read it all yet. But one minute I’m crying, the next I’m laughing, and then I’m crying and laughing at the same time! Thank you sincerely …”
“Having just sat down in the sun and read your magazine from cover to cover, I’m writing to tell you that it’s absolutely bl- - -y marvellous!” declares Rob. “Grapevine is exactly what New Zealand families need, and I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on something so good all these years!”
“The only problem I have with Grapevine is who to pass it on to – so many people like it!” complains Joan.
Meanwhile, great Grapevine cover-stories keep coming: 'KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER IN A WORLD THE PULLS FAMILIES APART' … 'PUNCH-UP IN THE FAMILY: MAKING THE MOST OF CONFLICT AT HOME!' … 'EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX (BUT WERE TOO EMBARRASSED TO ASK YOUR CHILDREN)'.
'HOW TO HAVE YOUR WEDDING CAKE & EAT IT TOO' hits the streets … followed by 'STEP-MUMS, STEP-DADS & BLENDED FAMILIES' and a mag which proves to be one of our all-time winners with a double-feature: 'HOW TO ENJOY YOUR WILD CHILD' plus 'I WISH YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DIE, DADDY!'
Then comes this UPDATE news from the Editor:
“I spoke recently at this café-style function, and a woman named Heather came up to me afterwards. ‘Many years ago,’ she told me, ‘my 16-year-old son decided life was not worth living. He was determined to kill himself.’ He attempted suicide twice, but was intercepted on both occasions – just in time! ‘But one day,’ she said, ‘the school rang me to say that my son had not turned up!’
“Heather panicked and rushed home, half-expecting the worst, but the boy was not there. Turns out, his bike had broken down, and he’d arrived at school late. Somehow, the troubled teenager ended up with the school counsellor – who gave him the copy of Grapevine that was sitting on his desk. Can you guess what the cover story was? 'TEENAGE SUICIDE: A PERMANENT SOLUTION TO A TEMPORARY PROBLEM'.
“‘He read and reread that magazine – from cover to cover,’ said Heather. ‘And I have waited 14 years to thank you and Grapevine for saving my son!’ That one issue of Grapevine turned her boy around. He chose instead to live, got himself sorted out, and was now a successful businessman – happily married, and about to have his first child. I was blown away! I mean, what an encouragement! And let’s face it – Heather and her family could be YOUR neighbours, or mine …”
In an early UPDATE, the Editor makes a CONFESSION about DEPRESSION:
“I’ve recently been infected by a niggly, low-grade, won’t-go-away heaviness. Why? Well, did you know that this country has the developed world’s second-highest percentage of single parent families? Did you know that, since 1970, the rate of marriage has decreased 60%, while the number of divorces has nearly doubled? Did you know that births outside of marriage have tripled in the past 30 years? Did you know that, for every $1 spent on a child brought up in two-parent families, the Government spends $10 on a child brought up in a single parent family?”
Conclusion? Grapevine’s job is obviously not over!
However, despite these depressing stats, WE’RE NOT HELPLESS (he insists): “Street Sponsorship is not just about money, eh. It’s about putting Grapevine into the hands of couples whose marriages have gone stale … parents who are at war with their kids … grandparents who’ve lost hope … young people who are just getting started in this business of being a family.”
Highlights this year: 'BRING BACK THOSE LOVING FEELINGS' … 'TAMING YOUR HOUSEHOLD TERRORIST' … and 'RAISING KIDS: YOU’VE GOTTA ENJOY THE JOURNEY!' Plus a couple of Grapevine supporters win an all-expenses-paid holiday in beautiful tropical VANUATU – lucky things!
We create a LAUGH this year with 'WHY WOMEN ARE ALWAYS RIGHT & MEN ARE NEVER WRONG' … we create a STIR with 'PARANOID PARENTING: EASING THE PRESSURE ON WORRIED MUMS & DADS' … and we get some great FEEDBACK.
A new friend in Ye Olde England writes: “I'm a fan! My kids and I spent half an hour reading out all the funnies along the edges – I am especially endeared to ‘The earth is like a tiny grain of sand, only much, much heavier …’ The mix and presentation of the magazine is first rate. We could do with something like it here in the UK!”
Lorraine (a Kiwi fan) sings Grapevine’s praises: “I’ve been enjoying your wonderful magazine for many years, and still put life ‘on-hold’ every time I get a new copy. It all began in Auckland when I was a young mum – 19 years ago! And I still have some of the really old copies. I would now like to take up the opportunity of becoming a Street Sponsorship, to ensure that I continue to read your terrific articles – many of which have been so timely over the years. Thank you for helping me to raise great kids – our lives have been truly blessed by your awesome dream. And I hope and pray that by me becoming a Street Sponsor other families will have their lives changed, too. Thank you and God bless you all!”
And we stumble across another beaut little one-liner (well, three lines actually – author unknown): “Never tell a young person something cannot be done, because God may have been waiting for centuries for someone ignorant enough of the impossible to do that very thing.”
(Mmm … sounds a bit like Grapevine, don’t you reckon?)
We’re too busy to enter them in any competition, but three award-winning COVERS roll off the press: 'CYBERSAFETY: ARE OUR KIDS AT RISK ONLINE' leads with a fearsome shark … 'KEEPING OUR KIDS OUT OF JAIL' puts our art-director’s young son behind bars… and 'SSHHH: ARE YOU CHEATING ON YOUR PARTNER' features the most yummy pair of red lips ever seen in Grapevine!
We’re also too busy (almost) to notice when our 200th edition rolls off the press:
200 times over the past 23 years we’ve gone into labour and given birth to a brand new magazine!
200 times it’s happened: coffee’s been drunk … ideas have been pooled … topics have been chosen … articles have been researched … interviews have been recorded … illustrations have been commissioned … and photos have been took.
200 times without fail: layouts have been designed … text has been edited … words have been reworked … pages have been proofed … filmwork has been flown to our printer … and enormous piles of finished copies have rolled off the presses.
200 times, one edition after another: those magazines have been trucked all over the country … walked around streets and suburbs … delivered with love to letterboxes … welcomed as a friend and enjoyed to the max in the privacy of people’s own homes.
200 different magazines with 200 different covers and 200 different messages: but, at the end of the day, all doing the same thing: ‘GIVING FAMILIES A LIFT’.
That calls for a CELEBRATION, surely!
TP from Christchurch agrees: “What a little gem of a magazine you have, and how pleased I am that we decided recently to become Street Sponsors. I think you have the perfect recipe. I admire your perseverance and what you’ve achieved with Grapevine, and I know that people on our street feel really encouraged by it. Keep up the great work and don’t change a thing!”
We revisit childhood with our 'SKOOL DAZE' edition, tackling 29 questions parents wish they could ask … then issue a warning in the next mag: 'LOOK OUT: THE MOTHER-IN-LAW’S COMING!'
An out-of-the-blue letter arrives from Roel – a guy on death-row (no kidding) in a Zambian prison (that’s right, Zambia), who was loaned a copy of Grapevine by a fellow inmate. How did that mag end up in Zambia? Your guess is as good as ours. But Roel was rapt: “I read it from cover to cover, and really enjoyed the articles and one-liners. Anything for a laugh – and there was plenty of laughs in Grapevine. I would like to beg for only one thing: can we please receive more copies of your great magazine?”
We’re now reaching over 500,000 homes each year and making slow-but-steady progress. But our long-term goal remains unchanged: to grow our team of Sponsors until (ultimately) every Kiwi home is getting the message that Grapevine has faithfully shared, year after year: “YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND!”
More to come …!