Pavement was started with the aim of creating a magazine that would focus on contemporary culture from New Zealand and the rest of the world, with particular emphasis on emerging "stars" on the cutting edge of creativity. It included articles on contemporary music, art, film, fashion and design and often photographed people in London, NYC, LA, Paris, Sydney and throughout NZ.
People shot for its covers and/or content included Pauly Fuemana, Dita von Teese, Liv Tyler, Naomi Campbell, Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Eva Herzigova, Johnny Depp, Thandie Newton, Russell Crowe, Giselle Munchen, Paris Hilton, Penny Pickard, Milla Jovovich, Peter Jackson, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Cate Blanchett, Michael Stipe, Larry Clark, Melanie Lynskey, Leelee Sobieski, Leonardo DiCaprio, Angelina Jolie, Kerry Fox, Devon Aoki, Lucy Lawless, Oliver Stone, Kirsten Dunst, Amber Valetta, Kelly MacDonald, Georgina Grenville, Gary Oldman, Christy Turlington, Pierre et Gilles, etc. Musical artists featured included New Order, Oasis, The Veils, LTJ Bukem, The Black Angels, Suede, Throwing Muses, The Darkness, Courtney Love, The Cramps, Massive Attack, Shirley Manson, Big Bud, Dimmer, Kylie Minogue, Tricky, Spiritualised, Pulp, Ministry, Soundgarden, Elastica, etc.
While Pavement was primarily a New Zealand magazine, it made use of overseas stylists, models, writers and photographers, including Regan Cameron, Richard Kern, Helmut Newton, Tony Kim, Max Doyle, Lionel Deluy, Pierre Toussaint, Davies & Davies, Robert Astley-Sparke, Hugh Stewart, Laurence Passera, Robert Wyatt, Russ Flatt, Ranjit Grewal, Derek Henderson, Alex Freund, Terry Richardson, etc. It was available in over 2000 outlets around New Zealand and Australia and had plans to increase its distribution in New York and London.
It had twice been awarded New Zealand Magazine of the Year, Editor of the Year and Designer of the Year.
The magazine was renowned for its controversial content and was submitted to the Chief Censor for rating on four occasions. The first occasion was its "Raw" issue which included a spread of nudes entitled "In the Raw". The censor ruled over one picture by NYC photographer Terry Richardson, of a Japanese prostitute dressed in a schoolgirl uniform, deeming the issue R16. Two further issues, one featuring a series of nudes shot by art photographers entitled "Au Natural" and the magazine's specially themed "69" issue, were also considered by the censor, although they weren't deemed offensive. The magazine's “special teen issue” marking Pavement’s 13th year of publication in 2006 had been criticised by child advocacy group ECPAT, who lodged a complaint with the censorship compliance unit claiming that a number of images of teenage girls and one 10-year-old were “legally objectionable”. Chief censor Bill Hastings felt there was a prima facie case to be answered, though no action was taken.
Editor Bernard McDonald stated there was “only one shoot that I would consider provocative” and pointed out that the model in question was 19 years old. McDonald believed that the offending material was a celebration “of the idea and ideals” of being a teenager, the so-called “provocative” images being simply those of “a teenager developing into a sexual being, as we all do.” He also pointed out that the 10-year-old girl was a profile story that had nothing to do with nudity or sexuality, the only connection being its inclusion in an issue that also contained a minor amount of topless nudity (as explained). Nevertheless, major bookstore chain Whitcoulls declined to display the anniversary issue, selling copies only to customers who requested them over the counter, though most other retailers didn't have a problem with the content of the issue. The Office of Film and Literature Classification eventually restricted the "special teen issue" to persons 13 years of age and over, although the issue had sold out at that point.
As a result of declining advertising revenue throughout 2006, it was announced that the magazine would cease production following its December 2006 issue. Hunt then set up a new magazine, 1am, while McDonald began writing and reviewing films for the newspapers Sunday Star-Times and Herald On Sunday and New Zealand music magazine Rip It Up.
- "Pavement Magazine". Loops & Samples.
- "Outcry at girl's 'lost youth'". The New Zealand Herald. 2006-10-15. Retrieved 2007-01-02.
- "Pavement steps off footpath and into gutter". National Business Review. 2006-10-31.
- McDonald, Bernard (ed.). 2006. "Letters", Pavement, summer (74), p. 18.
- "End of road for Pavement". The New Zealand Herald.