ARPA's origins go back to an antecedent group, the Religious Press Association, formed in 1960.


Its sole purpose was to combat proposed high increases in postage rates for registered publications. The RPA was a small, Melbourne-based group which included the Jewish press. In 1970, with a handful of key players having moved on or about to do so, the RPA held its last meeting.

From its ashes emerged a broader vision of a Christian press association which would be as much a professional industry body as a lobby group.

Enthusiasts like Gerald Davis (who had just launched Church Scene) and Nick Kerr (then president of the already active Australian Catholic Press Association) encouraged by colleagues like Bruce Upton (Bible Society) and ACPA's Fr Pat Cunningham, canvassed this idea widely.

It was decided to hold a conference immediately after the CPA convention in Melbourne to try to mount a trans-denominational press association. That gathering, called the La Verna Conference after its location, founded the Australian Religious Press Association, with Bruce Upton as founding president. ARPA held its inaugural convention in Canberra in May 1974.

In 1990, in recognition of the growing mutual interest and involvement across the Tasman, with the conference held that year in Auckland, ARPA formally established a New Zealand chapter and became the Australasian Religious Press Association. 

ARPA now has a membership of 82 publications and 22 individuals as well as 64 staff members of the publications—168 members in total. The Association has a Code of Ethics and also adopts the code of universal media freedoms.

Its aims are to develop members’ skills, knowledge and professionalism; to offer opportunities for networking, fellowship and information-sharing among members; and to recognise excellence through the presentation of annual awards.  

The Australasian Religious Press Association awards celebrate excellence in writing; design and creativity; and publishing. The awards are given for work published during the preceding calendar year.

  • For more information on ARPA membership please see our Membership page.
  • For links to photo galleries and ARPA Awards winners please see our Home page.
  • For more general information on ARPA please email our Executive Officer Elizabeth Harris.
Sophia Sinclair     President

Sophia Sinclair


Mark Brolly     Australian Vice President and Secretary

Mark Brolly

Australian Vice President and Secretary

Allan Sauer     Treasurer

Allan Sauer


Elizabeth Harris     Executive Officer

Elizabeth Harris

Executive Officer

Peter March     Communications Officer

Peter March

Communications Officer

Vacant     New Zealand Vice-President      New Zealand Chapter Co-ordinator


New Zealand Vice-President

New Zealand Chapter Co-ordinator

Keep in touch


Order your copy of the ARPA Directory here.

New Zealanders

Order your copy of the ARPA Directory here.