Come with us as we interview the founder of UNO, Andy Martin, and 10 cover stars from the last 40 issues and more, to find out what they are doing now: Liam Messam, Sam Cane, Lizzie Marvelly, Mills Reef, Elin Tawharu, Makere Gibbons, Kane Williamson, Mr G, Owen Dippie, and Omanu Beach Surf Life Saving Club.


thought I was superman, and that every main region deserved an UNO.” Within 18 months of publishing his first issue in 2005, Andy Martin had nearly 50 staff, and four UNO magazines: Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Wellington, and Land, which was designed for the rural North Island.

Andy is one of the city’s larger-than-life characters, and what you might call an ideas man. And he isn’t short on ‘Yeah, that sounds great, let’s do it!’ He approaches business with the enthusiasm of a puppy who senses a walk is imminent. Everything looks like an opportunity through his eyes.

“I’d been publishing a home building magazine to promote another business I owned. I sold that after two years, and wanted to do something else. I really admired Urbis magazine and its aesthetic. I thought it would be great to publish a similar magazine which promoted all that’s great about living in the region.

“My father, Charlie, was a semi-retired sports broadcaster and writer. He could write it and I could sell it. And so in autumn 2005, with Charlie as editor and me as publisher, we launched UNO Bay of Plenty, with Paddy and Tim Preston on the cover, and a big launch party at Mills Reef.”

He talks about the early days. “Every business worth knowing, knew they had to be in the magazine, and if they weren’t, people wondered why. At the start, we threw a party to launch each issue as that’s what I thought all the top end magazines did. It was great fun and our advertisers really enjoyed the networking side. There weren’t many of those sorts of events on, unlike today. And I remember Dad was always punctual. I was not. We’d arrange to meet a client, I’d turn up late and he’d always be sighing and carrying on.”

We have good fun chatting about the reality of producing a magazine. “For a feature in the first issue, I borrowed a new Audi from Mike Farmer. Dad and I took a photographer down to the Hawke’s Bay, stayed in a five star lodge and had dinner at Craggy Range, setting up the photographer haphazardly amongst the diners. On the way back we positioned the photographer on the Pyes Pa Road and I drove round the corner about 17 times, trying to get the shot for the Drive column. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.”

Was it always the plan to have several UNO’s in different areas of the country? “There was no planning whatsoever, with anything. My staff once bought me a cap for Christmas with the words ‘WING IT’ across the front. Looking back, moving into Wellington was a mistake. We should have gone to Auckland. The advertisers in Wellington had spent all their money on winning foot traffic by paying high rents. Then the global financial crisis hit, and everything went tospy turvy. We came out the other end and decided to publish just the one magazine: UNO Central, in 2008, the magazine you are publishing now. It was devastating, but it also made life so much easier. And here we are, 40 issues later.”

“There are some amazing people who’ve walked alongside me throughout the whole journey. Trudie Malone and Andrea Keast really had their work cut out for them as designers, as did Charlie as editor. I would throw them a pile of rough notes a couple of nights before deadline, with next to no time to get it print-ready. I always admired how the designers held me to account, standing firm on their design choices. And Chris White was truly the heart of the magazine. She was with me for 10 years, selling advertising. She single-handedly kept the dollars rolling in to keep us afloat in some hard times.

We are in our office, with old issues spread all over the floor as our team re-read the cover stories we are bringing to life again for this issue. He picks out Sam Cane from 2011. “Dad and I would often have a bit of an arm wrestle over the cover. Because of his background, he had an interest in the sports stars. The designers and I always wanted jazzier, sexier cover stars like musicians and artists. It wouldn’t matter who Charlie chose, from whatever industry, they were always more popular than the stories I chose. Sam is a case in point. Charlie had a real knack of picking the up-and-comers, and was always proud to tell me how right he was when our cover stars went on to become even more famous. He had the last say on those.”

It’s not often you start a business and employ your dad. Andy says it wasn’t always immediately obvious to everyone who was boss. “We were in Wellington with one of the UNO launches, and were chatting with a group including All Balck, Ma’a Nonu. ‘It must be nice, working for your dad’, someone said to me. Charlie laughed and set them straight. He was very proud of me, as I was of him. He was an exceptional writer with an old school style, and was able to build a great rapport with everyone who met him, especially the youngsters. When Charlie passed away in 2013, it changed things for me with UNO. It just didn’t seem right to be doing it without him. So to be able to pass my baby on to a couple who have as much passion and love for the magazine as I have, that makes me feel proud as punch every time I see it.”

For Mat and I to have the fun and honour of continuing what Andy and Charlie started, well, it doesn’t really get much better as a job.

Every person we have re-interviewed for this issue speaks with fondness about their experience with UNO. Most were very young, starting out on their career. And we’ve posted all their old features here on our website, so you can enjoy the feeling a bit of hindsight gives you.


Liam Messam UNO Magazine

featured in: UNO Waikato
issue 4, autumn 2006

THEN: Liam Messam went straight from Rotorua Boys’ High School into the New Zealand Sevens Squad and began his full time rugby professional career. He was just 21 years old when he starred on the cover.

NOW: I must have had a full tub of Dax Wax in my hair that day! I laugh now when I see the cover, all styled up with the clothes and the ‘do.

Back then I was totally immersed, committed and focused. It was almost an obsession to become the best player
I could be.

The highlight of my career? The friends I’ve made. Although, winning the Rugby World Cup in 2015 was up there, too.
We had such an awesome culture within the team.

In August, I’m off to Toulon in France. The rugby will be fantastic. I’ve been to Paris and Marseille a couple of times, but this will be a completely different experience.

My two boys, Jai and Bodie, are learning a few words in French to set them up for a new life in France.

I have such passion and love for the game. I’ll keep playing until my body can’t take it anymore. As for a career afterwards, I’d like to work in youth leadership, and of course, health and fitness.

Read the original feature at


Sam Cane UNO Magazine cover issue 14

featured in: UNO Central
issue 14, spring 2011

THEN: Back then, Sam Cane was a teenager from Reporoa. He met the editor, Charlie Martin, on a sunny morning at Tay Street Café in Mt Maunganui. Charlie was impressed with the rugby player’s punctuality, pulling up on his Vespa bang on time. Both Charlie, and coach Dean Jennings, tentatively tipped him to be a future All Black. Good call, boys!

His mum said: “He’s never given us too much trouble and has been a good influence in our family — he can make fun out of nothing. I especially like the way he treats other members of the family and the close relationship he has with his grandparents. Sam is a good listener and respects other people’s advice. He’s a good son.”

NOW: That was my first ever photo shoot. I’ve done loads since then, but I remember that one very clearly. There were quite a few location and outfit changes. We went up to the rugby ground and posed in a suit at one stage!

Back then I was flatting with a couple of guys in a house near the ASB Stadium, in a Bay of Plenty Rugby Union flat. I was in a training group for the Chiefs, too, so was travelling back and forth to Hamilton a couple of times a week. I live in Hamilton now, but still travel back to The Mount frequently. Like today – I’m going to have lunch with my grandparents.

My career highlights are: Winning the Rugby World Cup in 2015, captaining the All Blacks, and winning the 2013 Super Rugby Final with the Chiefs.

In my spare time, I love riding my Harley Davidson. The odd time I get a bye, I like going out riding with my mate, Jay Reeve.

Even though I was on the cover seven years ago, I still see the mag now and again in restaurants and waiting rooms. My mates send me pictures and snapchats when they spot it, too. It gives them a good laugh.

Read the original feature at


Mills Reef cover UNO

featured in: UNO Bay of Plenty
issue 1, autumn 2005

THEN: The first issue of UNO Bay of Plenty starred father and son, Paddy (centre) and Tim (right) Preston, at Mills Reef in Bethlehem. They told us about moving to the Bay of Plenty, building the art-deco inspired Mills Reef on an estate they bought in 1991, and the awards they were already winning for their wine.

We talk to Tim Preston 13 years after that photo was taken.

NOW: What a pose! We didn’t mean to look that serious.

By virtue of time, the vineyards now deliver greater vine age, yielding ever more exciting grapes and wines each year.

My father and I have worked closely together since our first vintage in 1989. In 2009 he retired, and I took the chief winemaker reins, with Paul Dawick as senior winemaker, allowing our great team run to continue.

Back then, we were all busy, juggling families and the winery. We have time now to enjoy other pursuits, but our focus is still on producing the best possible wine from every vintage. We’ve won international accolades over the last decade, which have cemented us as one of the country’s leading wine brands. At this year’s Royal Easter Show, we took the trophy for best cabernet sauvignon and blends, with our 2016 Reserve Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot.

Another big change has been the sprawling city growth surrounding us.

We’ve become a commercial activity in a residential setting, so we are looking for a new home for the winery. The current estate will gradually be redeveloped into a lifestyle retirement village.

For the next two years at least, we’ll continue as a working winery, restaurant, and for cellar door wine tastings. We host weddings and functions for up to 300 in our barrel room, which is such a privilege. We look forward to hosting many more.

There are a lot of special memories connected with the estate. It’s something we cherish. That will not change.

Read the original feature at


Lizzie Marvelly UNO Magazine

featured: UNO Central
issue 10, spring 2010

THEN: Lizzie Marvelly was just 21 when we interviewed her. The star’s singing career was burning bright, but what hadn’t yet come to the fore was Lizzie’s incredible fortitude and brain.

Now: That whole time of my life was quite a blur, while I just tried to make sense of it all. I was thrust into an adult world when I was so young. Now, it almost seems like it all happened to someone else.

Since the cover story, I released my second album, Home, organised a concert to raise funds for the Christchurch Earthquake Red Cross appeal, changed direction musically and released a pop EP, sang many, many national anthems, founded a website for young women that ended up winning a Canon Media Award (, launched a social media campaign that went global (#MyBodyMyTerms), wrote a weekly column for The Herald, completed a BA in English and psychology, co-wrote, co-produced and co-directed a web series about sexuality education that’s just about to be released, and I think that just about brings us up to date.

My friends gave me a lot of stick for being on the cover. That was one weird thing about being very young and in the public eye. I’m so grateful though to have old friends who have always been in my corner and have always kept me grounded.

I’m just about to launch a web series called The REAL Sex Talk, which focuses on sexuality education for a teen audience. I’m extremely proud of my team and
am looking forward to it being out in
the world.

Read the original feature at


UNO Magazine Elin Tawharu

featured in: UNO Central
issue 35, summer 2016

THEN: Elin (15) and Jonas (17) Tawharu are siblings who had just carved up the Junior World Surfing Championships. Elin had taken the first podium for New Zealand since Matt Hewitt, a Bay boy, in 2009.

We gave Elin and Jonas their own covers — a first for UNO. The image of Elin says so much about her character: she looks to the future with confidence and self assurance.

NOW: We had to get up pretty early to get the sunrise for these shots. I remember finally getting a wave together with Jonas and that was lots of fun, especially as we don’t usually surf waves together.

Lots of people recognised me as the girl on the cover. I felt a little famous. It was funny to go to coffee shops, the gym, the doctor, dairies, and see my face everywhere. Even travelling around the country, people would say they’d bought the magazine and liked the article. It was a very cool experience.

In January this year I won the 2018 U18 Girls’ National Title and placed third in the Open Women’s National final. That week I featured on TV1 Sport, and Māori TV Sport.

I’m hoping to be selected for the New Zealand Open Surfing Team at the ISA World Surfing Championships for the first time, which will be held in Tahara, Japan in September.

Next year I’m hoping to move to Australia, to work and surf so I can compete in the World Qualifying Women’s Series.          

Read the original feature at


Kane Williamson UNO Magazine

featured in: UNO Central,
issue 23, autumn 2013

THEN: Even at school, Kane Williamson excelled. He was head boy of Tauranga Boys’ School, and at the same time, playing first-class cricket all over the world. Our writer, Ben Guild, described the then 22-year-old as a ‘modest young man with extraordinary ability’.

NOW: You can’t move for glowing
reports about the captain of the Black Caps. Renowned for his relaxed demeanour and lack of pomp, Kane is barely ever out of form, and
is often described as the greatest batsman of the modern era. He’s hit more test centuries than any other New Zealander.

It’s his talent and drive that kills the opposition softly. There’s always a gentle smile on the Black Caps’ captain’s face, but beneath his unrippled calm, there is an astute and determined mind.

Read the original feature at


Owen Dippie, UNO cover

featured in: UNO Central
issue 23, summer 2014

THEN: In New York, building owners were practically begging to have an OD original on their wall. The street artist has painted Nas in Queens, Biggie Smalls in Brooklyn, and this depiction of Girl with a Pearl Earring is on the side of the Kale Print building on Cameron Road, Tauranga.

NOW: In 2015, OD’s mural, The Radiant Madonna, was named by Huffington Post as the best mural of the year. The blend of Raphael’s Madonna with Keith Haring’s pop art baby graces a huge wall in Brooklyn.

Born in Kawerau, OD spent some of his school years at St Paul’s, where 2016 school leavers commissioned him to paint Sir Edmund Hillary as a leaving gift to the school.

A recent popular work is of Māori lady with a moko, next to street art by Cleon Peterson. The piece of New Zealand heritage in deepest, downtown LA, elicited the comment on Instagram: Mean, Māori, mean.

His tribute to late Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington, is called Sometimes The Loudest Screams Are Unheard, and was painted to raise awareness of suicide.

Read the original feature at


Ellie and Jordan York UNO Cover

featured in: UNO Central
issue 11, summer 2011

THEN: What a magnificent feature this was! A celebration of 100 years of surf life saving. Editor Charlie Martin shared this anecdote about having to use the services of the Titahi Bay surf life savers.

“Prior to the afternoon telecast, I decided to join some of the television crew plus local surfies for a lunchtime swim. I wanted to test the conditions so that I could speak with authority. A large and boisterous wave dumped me heavily, and for the first time ever whilst swimming, my dentures shot from my mouth to the sandy floor below. I called on the good services of the Titahi Bay lifeguards for search assistance. We quickly formed a chain, holding hands to retrace my steps to where the disaster struck, and tried to locate the plastic munchers. I swear I had a foot on the bottom set at one stage but again got bowled over by a wave and the search was abandoned.

That was the last I ever saw of my teeth!   

NOW: Emillie York, then aged 6 (left on the cover) and Jordan York, then aged 8 (right, airborne) are the siblings diving for the beach flag on this iconic UNO cover. We speak to their father, Jono York.

I used to run junior surf life saving at Omanu Beach. I still do some coaching on Tuesdays and Fridays. Emillie often helps me out.

The day of the shoot was a Sunday. We had just finished nippers and were about to go down to The Mount as we had a float in the Christmas Parade. We walked past the photographer, Quinn O’Connell, and he saw the children and asked if I’d mind getting them to dive on the beach for the shot. He had two other children lined up but said he couldn’t get the shot he wanted.

He got it pretty much on the first shot. Jordan and Emillie had forgotten about it, I think. When I knew the magazine had gone on sale, I took the children down to buy a copy. I let them go in first to find the magazine. They got such a shock. I think they were pretty confused at first!

I still help with coaching at Omanu Beach. But the children have moved on to other things. They are both into hip hop dancing, and of course, surfing, when the water’s warm.

Read the original feature at


Mr G Graham Hoete

featured in: UNO Central
issue 1, winter 2008

THEN: Ex-Kawerau and Tauranga boy Graham Hoete (known as Mr G) was already making a name for himself with his clever and powerful photorealist wall art, and he had a range of customised streetwear apparel from sneakers to t-shirts and hoodies.

NOW: I have been working hard as an artist for over 12 years. Every now and then, something will capture the public’s imagination. Like the tribute I painted to Prince in Minneapolis, which went viral.

We did a stint in Sydney, but my wife, Millie and I, are based in Papamoa now.

I have painted portraits all over the world, including one of Ice-T and Coco’s dog, Spartacus.

I went to college in Kawerau, but used to go home to Motiti in the holidays to go fishing and diving. It was pretty basic, there wasn’t any electricity, and we went everywhere on tractors and horses.

When I started out, I made a living by customising Chuck Taylors with my own art and selling them through a retailer in Bayfair in The Mount.

The mural on the water tower on Mauao has been very popular. I did it to support my iwi, Ngai Te Rangi. It’s an assertion of mana. This is our mountain, and we will love and guard it.

Read the original feature at


Makere Gibbons

featured in: UNO Capital
issue 5, winter 2008

THEN: Makere was a big tennis star, having won several tennis titles as a teenager on the international junior circuit, was signed to Auckland’s Clyne Model Agency, and was halfway through a business degree
at university.

NOW: The shoot was around the time of my 21st birthday. My best friend was over from Australia, so she helped out on the day. I was a shy young girl back then, embarrassed about having her photo taken while other people were around.

I’d still be running my tennis coaching business if I hadn’t been offered the wonderful opportunity of working in television. So off to Auckland I went, to give it a go. I took the risk and it’s been the best decision ever. I now work for The Crowd Goes Wild and have recently been given the hot seat, hosting the show. Looking back, I would have never thought I would be where I am now.

The highlights of the last few years have been getting married and starting a family. Oh, and the amazing job I get to do.

Read the original feature at