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Story: Magazines and periodicals

New Zealand magazines

Magazines and periodicals have been part of New Zealand’s cultural landscape since European settlement began. In the 2010s, despite the impact of the internet, there was a wide range of titles, including long-lived publications like the Listener, the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and New Zealand Gardener.

Story by Ben Schrader
Main image: New Zealand magazines

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Early publications

Wellington’s first settlers brought books and periodicals to set up a public library. The first local periodical was the New Zealand Journal, published by the New Zealand Company from 1840 to 1852. It aimed to promote the company and its settlements, but included letters about colonial life.

In the 1860s local imitations of the British humour magazine Punch were published. Other magazines included the New Zealand Magazine, which lasted for a year, and Zealandia, which concentrated on local content and produced 12 issues.

Early literary magazines

From 1893 the Triad focused on the arts, with Charles Baeyertz its colourful editor. From 1915 it was produced in Sydney. It closed in 1926.

The New Zealand Illustrated Magazine, which aimed to foster New Zealand art and writing, ran from 1899 to 1905. The quarterly Art in New Zealand was published from 1928 to 1946.

Popular magazines

Popular magazines of the 1920s and 1930s included:

  • the Mirror, a middle-class women’s magazine that covered royal tours and society weddings
  • the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, which began in 1932 and was still going strong in 2014
  • the New Zealand Listener, founded by the government in 1939 to publish radio listings, and still published in 2014.

Later art and literary magazines

Between 1930 and 1950 more attempts were made to set up arts and literary magazines. These often aimed to support nationalist writing and tell New Zealand stories. They included:

  • Phoenix, which published just four issues but was an outlet for important writers
  • Tomorrow, which was banned by the government because of its radical politics
  • Landfall, which was founded in 1947 with Charles Brasch as editor, and still appeared in 2014.

Literary magazines in the 2010s included Sport and New Zealand Books.

Specialist magazines

Special interest magazines have focused on diverse issues, including temperance (White Ribbon), the environment (Forest and Bird), farming (New Zealand Farmer), food and wine (Cuisine) and New Zealand music (Rip It Up). Te Ao Hou and Mana focused on Māori culture; Broadsheet was a feminist magazine and Consumer explored consumer issues.

The internet

The rise of the internet in the early 2000s meant that some magazines lost readers. However, many publications set up websites. Some magazines were only produced online.

How to cite this page:

Ben Schrader, 'Magazines and periodicals', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/magazines-and-periodicals (accessed 15 December 2017)

Story by Ben Schrader, published 22 Oct 2014