Meet the Team

Message from the Editor

Our experienced journalists are passionate and knowledgeable about the North Shore area and are looking forward to serving you. Local papers are a focal point of news for the community, and our team has the expertise to report on issues that affect local families and businesses and break news. For instance, national broadcasters, newspapers and other media regularly follow up stories and features they first came across in our sister paper, The Devonport Flagstaff. Over the years our team has won numerous journalism awards.

The Observer Team

Rob Drent

Managing Editor

Managing Editor Rob Drent, a journalist for 40 years, has been at the helm since October 1997. He has worked in New Zealand and England on community, daily and Sunday newspapers, and magazines, including the Auckland Sun, Dominion Post and Sunday Star-Times. A former community newspaper journalist of the year, Rob loves getting his teeth into contentious issues. He enjoys tennis, squash, reading and tramping.

Janetta Mackay

Senior Reporter

Janetta is a long-standing journalist who edits the Rangitoto Observer and is chief reporter of the Devonport Flagstaff. She brings news editing and layout skills to these tasks, forged in a career in daily newspapers, with a diversion to women’s magazines and feature writing. A former Weekend Herald Editor and New Zealand Herald Assistant Editor, she these days enjoys working close to home in Hauraki and delving into issues that impact North Shore communities.

Lochlan Lineham


Lochlan attained a communications degree from the Auckland University of Technology in 2022 and brings to the paper the added bonus of local knowledge. He grew up in Takapuna and Bayswater and attended Takapuna Grammar School. With interests ranging from music to sport and a keen desire to grow a career in journalism, he adds a youthful perspective to the paper.

Candice Izzard

Sales and Marketing Manager

Candice has a varied background ranging from event planning, training, marketing and teaching. She trained as a graphic designer and web designer, and later as a teacher. She is entrepreneurial by nature and ran her own business for 12 years – a successful Montessori school in Cape Town before moving to New Zealand with her family in 2021.  Now settled in Devonport, she has found her home at the Flagstaff in the role of Marketing and Sales Manager. She has a good understanding of the current market and target audience and is focused on building strong and lasting relationships with her clients.

Brendon De Suza


Brendon is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator with decades of experience working with large international ad agencies and brands. Devonport Flagstaff is one of his many “illustrious” set of current clients which also include companies like Hikoki (formerly Hitachi), Blackmores and Lincoln Wines.

Of all the awards the team has won, we are most proud of the recognition we have received for community involvement.

Rob Drent (Managing editor)


The Rangitoto Observer and The Devonport Flagstaff are members of the New Zealand Community Newspaper Association (CNA). Our sister paper, the Flagstaff, has been recognised many times in the annual Independent Better Newspapers and Independent Community Newspapers Better Journalist and Photographers competitions. Our team has also been highly commended in the NZ Canon Media Awards which judges all NZ media including mainstream outlets: Among the awards won by our team are:

NZCNA Best Overall Newspaper — Finalist 2002, 2003, 2007. Runner-up 2022

Community Newspaper Journalist of the Year – Voyager Media Awards — Winner 2018

Best Community Involvement — Winner in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016

Best Headline — Winner 2012, 2013, 2014

Most Improved Newspaper — Winner 2010, 2011, 2012

Best Senior Reporter, Best Sports — Winner 2009, 2010, 2013

Best Overall Newspaper — Finalist 2002, 2003, 2007

Best Junior Reporter — Winner 2001, 2002, 2005, 2013, 2014, 2015

Best Junior Photographer — Winner 2001

Best Senior and Junior Feature writer — Winner 2015

Metro Magazine, Best of Auckland Best Community Newspaper — Winner in 2006; runner up in 2005.

Special project (Destination Devonport) — 2016

CANON Community Reporter of the Year — Finalist in 2015 and 2016

CANON Community Newspaper of the Year — Finalist in 2017

Community Involvement

One of the national awards received by our sister paper for community involvement was in recognition of the Flagstaff’s campaign in 2011 to eradicate the synthetic cannabis drug Kronic from Devonport dairies. The campaign was covered by national TV and radio, and many other communities across Auckland and the rest of the country began asking their local dairies to stop selling it. Our team received numerous emails and calls from parents congratulating the paper on its stance.

Other key campaigns run by our team have also been recognised by awards. These include the successful backing of Victoria Theatre supporters to reopen the performance facility; and the editorial stand we took against the government which helped save coastal land at Fort Takapuna from residential development.

Our paper donates several advertising pages per year to causes and arts groups that we support. Community groups, sports clubs, schools and churches are also given discounted advertising.