13 Years On... The Story of NOVA

This month of March 2007 marks a special milestonefor us here at NOVA Magazine.

It'sthe start of our 14th year of publication as a freeholistic journal, making us a true original in our fieldin this country - and that's something that makes usvery proud. It's been an exciting journey with dynamicgrowth from our West coast origins into the East coastin the last five years so we're now reaching readersin all states of Australia, including Tasmania. Throughour website, we're also taking our distinctive messageof holistic health and lifestyle to people all aroundthe world, most notably the United States, the UK andEurope, and we're delighted to say, to mainland China.We hope it's providing a window into our free and opensociety here in Australia, which, in turn, has so muchto learn from the traditional Chinese health emphasison treating the whole person. After all, they've beendoing it for a few thousand years now.

As our magazine has evolved, one thing has always beenconstant - our focus on good, strong, informed and independentarticles and columnists who are passionate about theirchosen fields and willing to share that knowledge andunderstanding to benefit us all. Another thing thatsets NOVA Magazine apart is our exploration of a particulartheme every month - it's never easy and sometimes ourbest laid plans go awry, but after 13 years and around155 separate issues (including two separate East andWest editions for the past five years), it's our signature.And in that time, we've explored some of the most importantideas in this industry - with a whole lot more to comein 2007. So 13 years on, it's timely to see where we'vecome from. Here you see our original issue way backin March-April 1994 with a theme of Psychology. Theblack and white 16 page newspaper-style publicationproudly proclaiming itself "Western Australia'sHolistic Journal" was the brainchild of foundingeditor/publisher Sui Oakland and her husband JohannVellekoop. American-born Sui and Johann had seen somethingsimilar back in the States and thought they were upto the challenge. So NOVA first appeared on the streetsof Fremantle, back then a relaxed and easygoing alternativecommunity, and even ventured into the inner suburbsof Perth. Even back then with an initial print run of10,000 copies, the magazine was widely distributed throughmore than 100 outlets. Today, we have 135,000 copieseach month through 1700 outlets in city and regionalareas all around the country.

And under Sui's firm guiding hand, NOVA from the verystart established a policy of independent articles thatwould make a real difference in people's lives. I thinkit's best expressed in her own words: "Our purposefor this journal is threefold: to bring together themany and varied branches of what has loosely been called"the holistic movement"; to focus on improvinghealth and awareness of our physical, mental and spiritualselves; and to bring what has up until recently beenseen as "the alternative movement" in linewith mainstream culture. Despite the very real threatsto our civilisation today, we believe in a positivefuture that can only manifest through focusing on andliving those ideals that come from a vision for a bettertomorrow. If we can assist in the development of theseideals within our community, then we will have fulfilledour purpose." Her vision of 13 years ago is stilljust as current and valid and probably even more neededtoday.

Some of those first issue contributions included "HolisticTransformation" by Malcolm Hollick who went onto become a leading figure at Findhorn community inScotland, "Somatic Psychology: Taking our Bodiesto Therapy" by Joan Cary, "Going into Retreat- Reflections on the Soul's Need for a Holiday"by columnist Persephone Arbour who went on to developa very large following and "How to Read a Recipewithout Becoming a Clone" by Camilla Sutton.

Our first advertisers were an eclectic bunch - everythingfrom the Apollo Float Tank to yoga for pregnancy andyoga in Bali (nothing's changed!) to Bodhi's Demetergrade bread "made with our own fresh milled BioDynamic Flour". We're delighted to see some ofthose originals are still with us, including Bodhis,Ikon Institute, Crystal Reflections, Innersense andAmbrosium. Thanks for being with us every step of thisjourney of discovery. And thankfully, along the way,you've been joined by many many others all over Australia.

So as you read this first issue of our 14th year, wehope you feel we've done justice to that original visionand will be cheering us on as we continue to grow andevolve in the future.

As part of that evolution, we're now establishing theNOVA Online Holistic Directory to allow anybody withan interest in any aspect of the holistic industry topromote what they're doing, both locally and globally.

Although NOVA was founded in Western Australia, oneof the most geographically isolated localities in theworld, our vision of a community connected by similarideals of a kinder, cleaner, better world is one thatknows no boundaries.

Margaret Evans