It is with deep sadness that we mark the death of NZ Retail's former editor, Trudy Cliff, who died at her home in Whakatane recently. She was a friend, colleague, editor, journalist, and a great breath of fresh air.
It has fallen to myself and former Tangible Media chief executive John Baker to write a few words about Trudy and we feel truly privileged to do so. John was her publisher during her later years at the magazine's helm, while I was the chief executive of the New Zealand Retailers Association until 2014. The association is now known as Retail NZ
My biggest concern in writing this tribute is getting the spelling and grammar right – anyone who knew Trudy would know that any slip ups in this area would certainly be frowned upon.
From the time she joined NZ Retail in 2002 ( at which time it was the publishing arm of the New Zealand Retailers Association) until she left in 2015, Trudy published in excess of 150 issues, a truly magnificent record. The magazine was highly respected across the New Zealand retail and publishing market, being recognised over Trudy’s tenure with many awards and citations. This recognition was particularly amazing in 2009 when the magazine scooped the pool at the NZ Magazine Publishers Association awards with NZ Retail winning Trade/Professional Magazine of the Year and Trudy named Editor of the Year. This is what the judges that year had to say: “Trudy is forthright with opinionated ‘call-to-action’ editorials. Her magazine makes you want to be a retailer.”
Over the years she also won many international awards as editor and for the magazine she produced. In addition, Trudy was very proud of the fact that of all the profit centres within the Association’s accounts, NZ Retail under her stewardship, was the most consistent contributor to the organisation.
Her attention to detail coupled with the very high standards she set herself meant that the magazine was always “the best”. As her CEO, I had so much confidence in her ability that the first I saw of the magazine each month was the final printed product.
Trudy had a fascinating life and compared with some of her earlier exploits, producing NZ Retail was probably a little tame. Before joining us for example, she took one of the first film crews from the west into China and had numerous extraordinary escapades in Africa. And it wasn’t only her work for which she gained fame, she was once crowned “Miss Rhodesia”. Despite her interesting past she shared snippets occasionally... but only occasionally, and it is a real shame that her personal memoirs were never published. They would have been a brilliant read.
Trudy was one of those very special people who had a big impact on all around her – she was more than a colleague, she was a friend and an inspiration.
Finally, any comments about Trudy would be incomplete if we didn’t mention her dogs – she loved her beloved animals and they were a huge part of her life.
Trudy, thanks for everything - we will miss you. You were one in a million.