There are a lot of catchphrases I could use in writing this piece, but the winner is, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Together with celebrating 1,000 issues of The Mercury Bay Informer comes the announcement that Stephan and Petra Bosman have sold the paper. This is their last issue.
The baton is being passed to new owners of the paper, Stan and Pauline Stewart. You can read more about them on page 16.
I insisted on writing this piece as Stephan and Petra’s trademark humility, should they have written the announcement about the sale of the paper themselves, would have been in the way of them doing justice to their contribution to the Mercury Bay community.
Together with their two girls - Cara and Amy - Stephan and Petra moved to the Bay from Tauranga in 2013 to take over The Informer. The community knew instantly who the new owners of the paper were, with Stephan and Petra making sure they were at as many community events as possible.
Stephan and Petra have always tried to be more than just a local newspaper. After more than nine years, it’s safe to say they have achieved this through and through. In addition to attending countless sports games, festivals and events, and taking hundreds of thousands of photographs, they sponsored and supported almost every community organisation and sports club imaginable, and were always on the lookout for opportunities to make Mercury Bay a better place for everyone. Their community outreach has been insane, there’s no other word for it.
“Highlights for us would be the buoy we placed over the Buffalo, the Whitianga Santa Parades we’ve organised over the years, the campaigns we ran to bring a rescue helicopter back to the Coromandel and our part in giving Whitianga an outdoor Christmas tree,” Stephan said. “Some of our proudest moments were to see the Mercury Bay Area School First XV rugby team and the Mercury Bay Senior girls football team play in uniforms sporting The Informer logo.”
Typically humble, Stephan forgot to mention the legendary, 200 people plus, mid-winter dinners he and Petra hosted for businessowners and community leaders. If it wasn’t for these dinners, many locals would never have had the opportunity to hear the likes of Mark Sainsbury, Ian Jones, Irene van Dyk and Nigel Latta speak.
With The Informer being such a large part of recording Mercury Bay’s history as it happened, it seemed only fitting to speak to Rebbeca Cox of The Mercury Bay Museum about Stephan and Petra’s contribution to the local community. “The museum has been extremely fortunate to have had the continued and committed support from Stephan and Petra for every exhibit, event or project that we undertook,” Rebecca said. “They were always willing to drop everything to help us out and to help promote the museum. Stephan’s passion for HMS Buffalo meant that he was always front and centre supporting us in raising the profile of the wreck.”
With Cara and Amy attending MBAS for many years, Stephan and Petra’s support for the school was inevitable. Principal John Wright is beyond grateful. “For many years now Stephan and Petra, and The Informer have been of superb support for our kura on many fronts, including sponsorship of our Seaside Carnival, musical and drama productions, sports teams and many other aspects of our school curriculum,” he said. “This has been deeply appreciated. They have always seen us as a ‘community school’ and have helped significantly in linking us with our community. On behalf of our students, staff and school community, I congratulate Stephan and Petra on the sale of The Informer. We wish them the very best for the future.”
Talking about the future, Petra said that she and Stephan have no immediate plans. “Personally, we’ve had an enormous challenging year or so and really need to take some time out to recover,” she said. “After that, who knows. We’re sure the right doors will open. One thing we have no doubt about is that we would like to stay in Whitianga, it’s home for us.”
I have known Stephan and Petra from when they took over The Informer. I was still a student at MBAS and occasionally wrote for them back then. When I returned to the Bay last year, I started writing for them again as a freelance contributor. It is my absolute privilege to say thank you Stephan, Petra, Cara and Amy. Thank you for everything you have done for and brought to the Mercury Bay community and will, without a doubt, continue to bring in whatever you may end up doing in the future.”
Pictured are Stephan and Petra Bosman who have sold The Mercury Bay Informer. The new owners are taking over later this week.