Trends in the 1930s
Late in 1932 a Canterbury journal of student opinion, Oriflamme, was suppressed after one issue by the governing body of the University College, but had a brief continuance as Sirocco.
University magazines have always been a source of wit and liveliness. Phoenix in Auckland in 1932 and 1933 was something more. For one thing, it was superbly produced. Contributors included all the bright young men of the day, however slender their connection with Auckland – A. R. D. Fairburn, Ian Milner, Charles Brasch, Allen Curnow, J. C. Beaglehole – and its editors were James Bertram and R. A. K. Mason. It is astonishing that so lavish a production braved the slump years even for four quarterly issues.
The harsh facts of the slump prompted a heightened consciousness of social problems and found a voice in the radical weekly (soon to be a fortnightly) Tomorrow, first published in July 1934 in Christchurch by its editor-cartoonist, Kennaway Henderson, who was to make great personal sacrifices to keep it going. This journal (“Tomorrow is a satire on today and shows its weakness”) kept in close touch with world affairs and deplored the rise of Fascism. Although closely linked to the Labour Government of 1935 (W. N. Pharazyn and Ormond Wilson were contributors), it had a feeling for the unpopular cause or person (e.g., John A. Lee in April 1940). It is said that its hospitality, courageously continued after the outbreak of war, to pacifist writers (the Rev. O. E. Burton and A. C. Barrington among others) brought about the circumstances that caused it to cease publication in May 1940. Although it clipped a good deal from overseas journals and had never quite reconciled its Marxist crusaders and its less engaged writers, its list of contributors is a proud one, ranging from the irony of G. W. von Zedlitz, the rectitude of W. J. Scott, and the dedicated fervour of H. Winston Rhodes to the keenest satires of Denis Glover and A. R. D. Fairburn or the “straight” literary offerings of Sargeson, Dowling, and Brasch.
More exclusively literary periodicals were springing up at this time, both stimulated and hindered by the war. The typewritten Oriflamme (Christchurch 1939) produced four issues in two years. Christchurch's Caxton Press, a powerhouse of good taste and good writing, produced the first copy of Book in March 1941; the ninth and final issue appeared in July 1947. With a roll call including Glover, Curnow, Vogt, J. R. Hervey, Isobel Andrews, G. R. Gilbert, Holcroft, J. R. Cole, Baxter, Sargeson, de Mauny, Smithyman, Dennis McEldowney, A. P. Gaskell, G. leF. Young, Duggan, and Louis Johnson, Book had cast its snares over the future. The Progressive Publishing Society's New Zealand New Writing (four issues 1943–45) with a greater seriousness of tone attracted many of the same contributors and under Ian A. Gordon's editorship might well have flourished at a more propitious time.
The New Zealand Listener first appeared in 1939. Under its successive editors, Oliver Duff and M. H. Holcroft, this national weekly journal of the Broadcasting Service has made its own place as a journal of opinion relating especially to the arts and has transcended its narrower task (still punctually performed) of printing the broadcast programmes and explaining them. The stories, poems, and articles have been contributed by New Zealand's best writers, many of whom have been encouraged to do work for which no other journal offers scope.