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HOT METAL COMMUNICATIONS is a boutique, full-service communications agency based in Wellington but with reach throughout New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region. Founder Mark Russell is a highly experienced media, government and stakeholder engagement strategist with an excellent track record working with companies wanting to grow their presence, and influence, in New Zealand.

What's in a name?

Hot metal was a letterpress printing method in which molten lead was cast into letters and lines of type. Entire pages would then be created by craftsmen to produce your daily newspaper. The world of hot metal was chaotic, noisy and fast-paced. Our Chinese translation is 热铁传播, which comes from a Chinese saying “ 趁热打 ”, meaning “strike while the metal/iron is hot”. This also reveals the key philosophy of our marketing and communications practices - reach the right audience, at the right time, with the right message.

What makes us different?

Hot Metal provides full-service communications solutions but without the rates charged by large agencies. That’s possible because we keep our overheads low, and work collegiately with specialist communicators, bringing them in as required project by project. When we need additional experienced support - from designers to social media experts, writers to videographers - we select the most appropriate experts from our external pool of proven talent.

Technology enables us to respond to client needs quickly and efficiently without the need for a high-profile, high-rise office. We’ve been there, played (and paid for) that game. Instead, Mark’s workspace has among the best views in Wellington - and a choice of the best cafes on his doorstep.

Hot Metal provides expert guidance on new market entry support; media and stakeholder engagement; community and government relations; and digital marketing and social media strategies. We work with businesses operating in New Zealand, Australia and Asia. We have expertise in the education, agriculture, food and beverage, tourism, entertainment, transport, health and banking sectors. A particular strength is our experience working with membership associations, helping them tell their stories, grow membership and raise their profile.

We have a team of experienced former journalists who research, develop, edit and pitch a wide range of client material targeted at different audiences, including media in Australasia and Asia.

Meet the team


I founded Hot Metal Communications in early 2016 to provide clients with innovative and personalised communications solutions.

Clients who are responding to change seek my help for more effective media engagement. When clients are leading change, I help them use communications channels to effectively connect with stakeholders and relay ideas. When clients are responding to rapid change – typically, dealing with a crisis – I help them achieve strategically acceptable outcomes.

As a former journalist with experience working on newspapers in New Zealand, London’s Fleet Street and in Hong Kong, I understand the media – what works for them and what doesn’t. I maintain close working and personal relationships with many print, broadcast and digital journalists. They know and respect me and my work. In Hong Kong, I worked as a journalist for the South China Morning Post and as Publications Manager for the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Before establishing Hot Metal Communications, I was a founding partner of leading New Zealand strategic communications agency Ideas Shop, which had offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

I am a past president of the Hong Kong New Zealand Business Association, a past president of environmental education charity Leave No Trace New Zealand, and a current trustee of The South West New Zealand Endangered Species Charitable Trust.


I have vast experience and knowledge built over many years working in media organisations in the UK, Middle East and Asia. 

An old school journalist who has embraced the new world, I have a deep understanding of analytics and digital models, and developed the first profitable micro site for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. 

I have planned and executed editorial-driven marketing and advertising campaigns targeting major events such as the Olympics and Hong Kong Sevens, dealing with many nationalities and cultures.  

Returning to New Zealand to join Mark at Hot Metal, we have reignited a professional relationship and friendship that goes back many years. Journalism and strategic communications are in our DNA. 

I am passionate about politics, the environment, climate change and I’m a keen follower of sport, especially golf and horse racing.