About the Award

The Bill Toft Awards are named for New Zealand radio and television broadcaster the late Bill Toft, who demonstrated leadership in broadcast presentation and delivery, neutrality and professionalism.

The Bill Toft Awards are open to new or young broadcasters working in online and broadcasting media in New Zealand and provides a grant of up to $5,000 awarded for the purpose of encouraging excellence in broadcasting in New Zealand.

The grant is to be used for the purpose of advancing the awardee’s skills, experience or other contribution to their professional development as a broadcaster.

Entries will be judged against criteria of excellence in presentation and professional conduct and delivery, and with regard to the purpose for which the grant will be used.


About Bill Toft

Bill Toft, eminent newscaster during a period of change in New Zealand broadcasting, epitomised standards of professionalism vital for media today.

The Bill Toft Memorial Fund was established in his honour to promote and maintain broadcasting standards of skill in communication, clarity, balance, impact and impartiality.


History of the Awards

Bill Toft died prematurely of cancer in 1975. The following year, a group of his friends and colleagues decided to raise money for a fund in his honour. Initially it was twofold – to acknowledge a “broadcaster of the year” – someone who attained and maintained high standards of presentation, and also to identify someone who was serious about their craft – enough to want to study or travel in order to  progress their career.

In December 1976 a cast of many well-known faces and voices gathered at the Wellington Opera House to present a variety concert - I’ve Heard That Face Before. Comedy skits, piano recitals and general high jinks were performed by John Hayden, Dougal Stevenson, Sharon Crosbie, Bill McCarthy, Rob Crabtree, Lindsay Perigo, Ian Fraser, Philip Sherry, Dick Weir, David McPhail, Philip Liner, John Gordon, Hewitt Humphrey, Sue Scott and many more. It was professionally directed by Howard Neil and produced a nearly full house.

 

The second attempt at fundraising was the publication of the Beauty and the Beast Cookbook, edited by Bill’s widow Ann Toft. The idea emanated from a TV programme featuring a panel of “agony aunts” hosted by Selwyn Toogood in the eighties. All royalties from the book went into the Fund.

 

The resulting money provided a basis on which to build and invest. In the early nineties, Radio New Zealand and the Radio Broadcasting Association each injected $10,000 in order to revive the then flagging Fund, which has since grown considerably thanks to wise investments. Today the Bill Toft Memorial Fund can look confidently into the future to help broadcasters maintain high standards across the radio spectrum for many years to come.


About the Bill Toft Memorial Fund

Trustees

Sam Perry (Chair)
Garry Gould
Hewitt Humphrey

Judging Panel

Hewitt Humphrey (Chair)
Kathryn Asare
Katrina Batten
Simon ‘Swampy’ Marsh
Sue Scott-Gould (Convenor)

Registered office

Brandons Solicitors – Sam Perry
PO Box 36 Wellington 6140