Before taking over the Building Guide in 2006, the owner and publisher, Mark Graham, worked in advertising agencies and media companies from 1987, including TVNZ, ACP Publishing (now Bauer Media), Wunderman Cato Johnson (the Direct Marketing arm of Young & Rubicam), McCann Erickson and more.
Past clients include XTRA (then Yahoo, then Spark), Sky TV, Sun Direct Insurance, Mazda, and Panasonic.
More recently he has worked with Hougarden, a Chinese language real estate portal for NZ properties, as their Business Development Manager, working on introducing the site to NZ real estate agencies.
Mark was also consultant to the Home Owners and Buyers Association (HOBANZ) – an organisation that is an advocate and educator for homeowners on home-related issues, as their Communications Manager, and regularly appears on radio and TV and in press commenting on building and housing issues facing New Zealand.
He became involved with interactive television projects as Manager – Direct Response and Interactive TV at TVNZ — where he produced several of the very first fully interactive TVCs in the world including one for Bluebird Potato Chips that featured people playing a computer game live on network TV from their homes via their touchtone phones.
At Wunderman Cato Johnson he was initiator and project manager of the first website in New Zealand (and possibly the world) with realtime insurance quotes for Sun Direct Insurance and was a critical part of the team that pitched and won the direct response work from Telecom’s XTRA during its launch.
He was part of the team that won the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Grand Prix prize for the Sun Direct campaign and the Marketing Award for Retail at the TVNZ/Marketing Magazine Awards, and three bronze medals at the following year’s DMA Direct Marketing Awards.
2000-2006 he was General Manager of Dow Communications, where he took over failing titles Grocers’ Review and Conventions New Zealand Planner, and launched such titles as HortSource, experience and associated websites.
He has done project work for RLA Trustees, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Economic Development, HuntGlobal/Ahipara, Tourism Dunedin, and Destination Lake Taupo. In 2006/7 he took a leading role in the successful launch of the Marlborough Convention Centre on contract for the Sales and Marketing of the new venue in its first year of operation, including full development of its branding.
Mark attended Boston University on athletic scholarship from 1979-1982 where he studied Broadcast Journalism and Philosophy. On his return to Auckland, he completed a BA in Philosophy and Political Studies at the University of Auckland, including papers in Green Economics. He completed a Diploma of Business; Marketing while at TVNZ in 1994.
He was part of the team that brought the Digital Earth international conference to New Zealand in 2006 – a conference concerned with the use of digital technologies in planning and for dissemination of knowledge on the natural and built landscape, and is closely involved in community enhancement work in Auckland, having been a Trustee of Artworks on Waiheke Island and Chairperson for the Waiheke Island Cinema Trust, which brought a community cinema to the Island in the early 2000s.
As Trustee, he is currently working with an assortment of Maori, Pacific, Arts and Governmental organisations on developing a Centre of Contemporary Maori and Pacific Island Culture (KIWA) to be based in downtown Auckland.
He was 17 times New Zealand title-holder in springboard diving, a bronze medallist at the 1982 Commonwealth Games and represented New Zealand at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games. He wrote a restaurant guide to Auckland in 2000 – Rough Guide: Auckland Restaurants, and has also been involved with numerous other publications and websites. He had a radio show on George FM for eight years, where he conducted interviews on current affairs, arts and ideas and pretended to be a DJ.