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NZ Geographic publisher James Frankham - has won a prestigious Blake award for his “crusade against apathy.”

James is an MPA board member, and his brand won Supreme Magazine of the Year in 2017 and 2018.

The citation on the Blake website notes the significant cross platform reach of the NZ Geo brand and its goal of inspiring empathy for the environment. It says James has encouraged  writers, photographers and videographers to take on “the most challenging and significant environmental stories of our time.”


The Ministry of Education now funds access to full NZ Geo archive for every school in the country. The NZVR project, developed by James, provides a 360-degree experience of the natural world, including a stingray swarm at the Poor Knights and flocks of seabirds at the Kermadecs.

“How do you effect social change at scale?” James says. “You can’t make somebody believe in something, but people who have a life-changing experience will build empathy and come to care about that as an outcome.”

“I think as a society we are increasingly interested in the devices in front of us and increasingly divorced from the natural world, and I think that’s said.

“But devices are amazing windows in to the world. NZ-VR is really about giving people access to the natural world through their devices. It’s turning a vice into a benefit.”

Other Blake award winners this year included Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon and Lisa King, the founder of Eat My Lunch. International businessman and community worker Sir Ron Carter took out the Blake Medal.