Frequently Asked Questions

Are Grapevine donations ... deductible?
Yes, most definitely!

Grapevine is a charity registered under the Charities Act 2005 (Charities Commission No. CC26674).

Interim receipts are issued for all postal donations – and end-of-year receipts are sent to all donors and sponsors (for tax-rebate purposes) in April each year.

Come on guys, what’s the secret?

As far as we know, Grapevine is unique. No one anywhere else in the world is doing what we’re doing the way we’re doing it. And no one, for sure, has been doing it successfully for over three decades!

Does Grapevine pay for John Cooney’s overseas trips?

Hardly! John’s Midlife Madness tours are entirely his own personal ‘hobby’ … enjoyed in his own time and organised by Lion World Travel – at no cost to Grapevine. In fact, Grapevine benefits – by getting paid for John’s travel ads, and in other ways (see below)!

Grapevine has always carried travel articles. We live in a big, wide, fascinating world. Most people enjoy reading and learning more about it, and Kiwis travel abroad each year in their droves. John’s colourful four-page stories form a small but entertaining part of each magazine’s editorial ‘mix’.

It was back in the 90s that the Cooneys were first invited to lead an overseas group-tour…and the idea caught on. People enjoyed their company, and travel proved to be a stimulating form of adult education – that’s helped John, especially, avoid the staleness that results from sitting too long in front of a computer.

These days, John and Robyn try to sneak away once (sometimes twice) each year with a bunch of like-minded travellers. Most of those are already Grapevine friends and supporters – and others soon become Grapevine supporters after spending a week or three with John!

How can I best support your work?

By deciding to SPONSOR GRAPEVINE (if you aren’t already) – ensuring that more Kiwi families get to see Grapevine on a regular basis.

Or by making an online donation to Grapevine HERE – every dollar counts!

Or, if you’re a charitable trust, by including Grapevine in the GRANTS your trust makes each year.

And (here’s something everyone can do) by providing for a BEQUEST in your will – a fabulous way to equip Grapevine so it keeps reaching families long after you’ve gone!

How do you decide where the sponsored magazines go?

When we first launched our Street Sponsorship campaign in 1998, we began encouraging sponsors to take responsibility for sponsoring their own streets and neighbourhoods. However, in 2010 we changed our focus slightly, beginning our ‘One Million Homes’ project. This aims to put Grapevine into homes that are always missing out, by systematically delivering our magazine to every home in the country. It can take five years to complete the cycle with our current funding, but we’re aiming to reach those million homes even quicker … funds permitting!

How on earth do you pay for it?

Why’s Grapevine FREE, people often ask? And the answer is simple: because we can’t think of a better way to impact at-risk homes, and put Grapevine within reach of families who wouldn’t normally buy a resource like this.

For many roller-coaster years, we funded our huge print and delivery costs with advertising (plus lots of desperate fundraising). But in 1998, we began inviting Grapevine enthusiasts to become Street Sponsors and “take responsibility for their own neighbourhood” – thus subsidising our print/delivery costs.

This strategy has been remarkably successful – stabilising our income and enabling us to do away with paid advertising (filling those pages instead with more good reading).

Since 2010 we’ve been encouraging sponsors to support our ‘1 Million Homes’ project. This aims to put Grapevine into homes that are always missing out – by systematically delivering Grapevine to every home in the country, every five years (more often, funds permitting).

Is Grapevine a religious magazine?

No way! It’s a FAMILY magazine, plain and simple. And people who think (or wish) Grapevine is (or should be) ‘religious’ – or anything else it’s not – are usually disappointed.

The Keepers of the Vine share a big concern for family life in this country. And (to varying degrees) we share a spiritual faith – which is reflected in some of the items that appear in Grapevine’s ‘Stillpoint’ pages. But we don’t make any assumptions about that. And if faith is not on YOUR list of Really Important Things – that’s your business, and Grapevine’s still for you!

Grapevine’s a FAMILY magazine. And we’re working hard to make it the best-darn-family-magazine-we’re-capable-of – with each edition grabbing as many readers as possible. We talk most about families and relationships and parenting … but we also stir in other ingredients, like fun and inspiration and travel, to keep Grapevine lively, well-rounded and ‘whole’.

A breath of fresh air – that’s what we want to provide. And if Grapevine can be that for you and your family, we’re more than satisfied!

So, what’s the SECRET?

Well, sorry, there isn’t one. When it comes to Grapevine, what you see is what you get: a fun, warm-hearted, reader-friendly magazine that’s currently delivered (no-charge) to 500,000 homes a year.

We’ve got no secrets, plots, hidden agendas or mystery backers. We’re simply a bunch of very ordinary people who share a very big dream and want to give families a lift. Yes, the journey’s been hard. And hair-raising! But we don’t give up easily. And we’ve had heaps of help from other ordinary people. And we feel like, “WOW – WHAT A RIDE!”

What’s an ‘Update’ and how can I get it?

UPDATE is our monthly in-house supporters newsletter – an inspirational communication from the G-Team sharing news about upcoming mags, new developments, financial progress, and more.

It’s posted (free of charge) to all friends, supporters and Sponsors. And you can get your name on the list by simply posting a $30 donation to Grapevine, Private Bag 92124, Victoria Street West, Auckland 1142.

What’s Grapevine trying to do?

While each edition has specific topics, our ’big dream’ is captured most clearly by Grapevine’s mission statement:


In simple terms, Grapevine is a genuine attempt to improve the quality of family life in this country. 

When did it start?

Way back in 1981 – although the concept had been ‘brewing’ for a number of years prior to that. It was a crazy dream, shared by a small bunch of idealists: delivering a colourful, quality, family magazine to hundreds of thousands of homes … absolutely free! The sceptics gave us a few months at the most. But they were wrong! More than 200 editions of Grapevine – untold MILLIONS of magazines – have rolled off the presses since then. One after another, they’ve been trucked around the country, walked around streets and suburbs, delivered with love to letterboxes, and welcomed as a friend in Kiwi homes.

Want to read more? Check out our HISTORY …

Where’s your office?

If you mean a Big Flash Expensive Office in town somewhere – sorry, we don’t have one (or need one). Grapevine benefits hugely from the latest advances in IT (information technology), and is currently put together on a number of grunty computers – and most of what we do can be done from almost anywhere (with articles, photographs, illustrations, designs, layouts, etc sourced from all around the world).

In keeping with our family-friendly philosophy, key members of the G-Team each work from home-offices – communicating daily by phone/email, and meeting every couple of weeks to “eat, drink and do business” at a central café. Sounds nice? Ahh, yes, it is …

Who are the Keepers of the Vine?

We’re the G-TEAM – staff, writers, editors, free-lancers, photographers, illustrators, designers, you-name-it – who get each edition of Grapevine printed and delivered and into your hot little hands. (See WHO’S WHO? …)

We’re a lean machine – fewer than you might think. (Although, between us, we boast a PILE of kids!) And we’re fellow-strugglers, not big-shots. Many of the issues we deal with in Grapevine are issues we (at some stage in our private lives) have worked through ourselves.

We’re a typical cross-section of Kiwi blokes and ladies — an unlikely bunch of professionals. We don’t easily fit into pigeon-holes … have stubbornly done it “our way” … and have rewritten most of the rules in the publishing book.

Have we enjoyed the journey thus far? You bet!

Who owns Grapevine?

A business organisation? A government department? The CIA? A church? No, none of the above. Grapevine has won the confidence of many businesses, politicians, community groups and churches – but it is 100% independent, and has no formal connections with any of them.

Furthermore, Grapevine’s not part of some giant publishing chain. It’s a one-of-a-kind, stand-alone, Kiwi-made effort.

The magazine is published by Grapevine Communications Society Ltd – a registered ‘not-for-profit’ charitable trust, set up in 1981 to do specifically this. Staff don’t ‘own’ it; nor do our volunteer directors. Nobody’s getting rich, and nobody ever will.
Grapevine’s where it is today only because of decades-long support from thousands of decent, committed, family-friendly people who share our dream for New Zealand households.

Who prints Grapevine – and delivers it?

Grapevine is printed by Inkwise (in Rolleston)and delivered by NZ Post.

Who’s Grapevine’s target audience?

Everyone possible! As a family magazine, delivered free to sponsored homes throughout the country, we’ve actually got numerous ‘target audiences’ – and we aim to win the widest possible readership by offering well-researched resources, plenty of variety, and lots of entertainment and fun.

In keeping with its mission statement, Grapevine’s primary focus is family relationships – and our Features and Interviews on serious topics occupy a full 20 pages in each 68-page edition.

Our inspirational Families Unlimited and Stillpoint columns occupy a further 10 pages. And other more light-hearted items (like Pick of the Bunch, Home-Sweet-Home, Take 10, Food, etc) claim another 20.

Our relational articles probably have a more immediate appeal with women and older readers. So we seek to balance that with our travel stories (Going Places – 4 pages) which are enjoyed by a wide cross-section: those who travel or hope to, plus those who just like learning about destinations near and far (check out the specific FAQ about our travel articles further on) …

Our Wild NZ adventures (6 pages) encourage Kiwis young and old, male and female, to get into the great outdoors with their families. We live in the most beautiful country in the world – but most NZers have experienced only a tiny portion of it. Yes, some of these activities may be a bit expensive – but most cost little or nothing.

We can’t, of course, keep everybody happy with every edition – and we don’t expect Grapevine to be “all things to all people”. But we purposely devote a few of our 68 pages to winning readers who may not normally pick up a “family” magazine.

For example, we want men to enjoy Grapevine. Who knows? If something in Grapevine can give them a good laugh and/or they enjoy a travel or outdoors story, it may raise their interest in our more serious material. Let’s face it: unless the ‘man-about-the-house’ is prepared to think again about marriage and parenting, life is unlikely to change in lots of needy Kiwi families!

Why do sponsors and supporters get an extra copy of the mag delivered as well as their complimentary copy? Isn’t that a waste?

We’re not wasting money delivering an extra copy. It’s to let you know that sponsor deliveries are happening in your area. Most sponsors and supporters appreciate the fact they can keep their comp copy and have an extra they can give away.

Why does the digital online magazine come out one issue behind the print copy?

Simply because we think it’s important that those who invest in Grapevine, get to receive the latest print copy. For all others, they can read it online if they wish – albeit one issue behind.

Why no advertising?

(i) we don’t NEED advertising (see ‘How on earth do you pay for it?’ above) … 
(ii) we haven’t got ROOM for advertising (we’d rather pack the available pages with excellent reading) … and 
(iii) we can still remember the non-stop, brain-draining headaches we suffered trying to SELL advertising (back in our pre-Street Sponsor days).

We will, however, accept suitable inserts (or onserts) – talk to if you’d like more details.