Story: Hintz, Orton Sutherland

Page 1 - Biography

Hintz, Orton Sutherland

1907–1985

Journalist, newspaper editor, writer, fisherman

This biography was written by Bruce Ralston and was first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand BiographyVolume 5, 2000

Orton Sutherland Hintz was born in Hawera on 15 November 1907 to Alfred Andrew Sutherland Hintz, a teacher, and his wife, Cora Evelyn Modlin Orton. His early years were spent in Nelson, where his father was director of Nelson Technical School. After a period in Singapore, where Alfred Hintz taught at Raffles Institution, the family settled in Auckland in 1915.

Orton initially attended Auckland Grammar School, but in 1922 became a foundation pupil at Mount Albert Grammar School. Here he developed the skills which led to his subsequent journalistic career. For three years he was on the editorial committee of the Albertian , the school magazine, to which he regularly contributed. He also participated in debating and drama. In January 1925 he took up a cadetship at the New Zealand Herald. He was to remain with the newspaper until his retirement at the end of 1969.

In 1931 Hintz was selected as the press representative for the New Zealand cricket tour to England, and recorded his impressions in The New Zealanders in England 1931. Cricket remained one of his passions and he was later vice president of the Auckland Cricket Association. While in England he met Flora Margaret (Madge) McIver, whom he married on 3 November 1931 at Paddington, London.

Hintz worked in the parliamentary press gallery in Wellington from 1935 to 1938, a period he regarded as probably the most exciting in New Zealand’s political history. He was a close friend of the Labour prime minister, M. J. Savage, whom he had known for some years in Auckland. During the Second World War Hintz served as a lieutenant in the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, initially as censorship liaison officer in Auckland; he was later posted to Ceylon and London. During this time he wrote a history of the Royal New Zealand Navy training and depot ship Philomel. In 1943 Madge Hintz died of cancer.

In 1946 Hintz returned to Auckland as night editor at the Herald. He became associate editor in 1952 and then editor in 1958. By the time of his retirement he was a director of the New Zealand Press Association and the New Zealand representative on the trustees of Reuters, travelling overseas on several occasions. He was also a director of the Herald ’s publisher, Wilson and Horton. Hintz always spoke passionately about journalism: ‘I learned my trade as a reporter. I am proud to belong to a profession which acts and must continue to act as the Intelligence Service of an informed democracy’. He was created a CMG in 1968.

A big man, Hintz was well known as an elegant dresser, often wearing spats and a houndstooth jacket and carrying a pale-yellow malacca cane. He was a good friend of the governor general, Lord Cobham, and was a member of the Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand. In 1962 he edited a compilation of Cobham’s speeches, which by 1965 had sold more than 32,000 copies and raised £6,750 for the trust. He was also involved in the Woolf Fisher Trust, which assisted secondary teachers to study overseas. After being a widower for over 20 years, on 30 December 1965 Hintz married Caroline Jean Crawford (née Hutchinson) at St Mark’s Church in Remuera.

Outside of journalism, his greatest passion was trout fishing. He had caught his first trout in a South Canterbury river when he was five. He started fishing at Taupo in 1935, and when possible took a three-week holiday in autumn at Waitahanui, his favourite fishing spot. His book Trout at Taupo , illustrated by Herald cartoonist Gordon Minhinnick, was published in London in 1955 to favourable reviews.

After retiring to Taupo in 1970 Hintz maintained his busy lifestyle, becoming president of several angling and outdoor recreation clubs, and foundation chairman (and later patron) of the Central North Island Wildlife Conservancy Council. He developed a close relationship with Ngati Tuwharetoa people, who held him in high regard. He drew on his journalistic skills and contacts to campaign against trout farming, and wrote articles for the Herald on fishing and its history, as well as on local and national social issues. A further book, Fisherman’s paradise , was published in 1975.

Universally known as ‘Budge’, Hintz died at Taupo on 18 November 1985, survived by Caroline; there were no children from either marriage. In January 1986 a stone seat beside his beloved Waitahanui River was unveiled as his memorial.