The first newspaper in the Māori language, Ko te Karere o Nui Tireni, was published by the government in 1842. From then till the early 1930s, around 40 Māori newspapers were published for various lengths of time. Most Māori papers were gone by the early 20th century, when the Māori language was declining.
The newspapers included news, editorials, letters, notices and advertisements. They are a rich source of information on Māori life and history.
Government newspapers in Māori were published from 1842 to 1877. Their goal was to teach Māori about Pākehā customs and laws. They also informed Māori and Pākehā about each other, and invited Māori comment on the government. Letters to the papers expressed strong opinions on issues such as the New Zealand wars, Māori representation in Parliament and the Native Land Court.
Pākehā- and church-owned newspapers
Newspapers were also set up to promote temperance (limiting alcohol use), European ways and Christianity, and out of concern for Māori. Charles Davis, Walter Buller and W. P. Snow each produced Māori newspapers.
Churches also published Māori papers, often with a focus on religion. The Anglican Church on the East Coast produced papers for more than 30 years.
Māori also set up their own regionally based papers, with the aim of having their views heard by the government and Pākehā. These included:
- papers published by the Kīngitanga (Māori King movement)
- Te Wananga, produced in Hawke’s Bay by the repudiation movement, which opposed selling and leasing land
- newspapers from the Kotahitanga (Māori parliament) movement.
The first Māori magazine was the quarterly Te Ao Hou, produced by the Department of Māori Affairs from 1952 to 1975. It published a variety of articles as well as fiction by Māori, photos and drawings. The government has published a number of magazines; some still appeared in 2013.
Other magazines were tribally focused (Kia Hiwa Ra from Ngāti Maniapoto, Kahungunu from Ngāti Kahungunu, Pu Kaea from Mataatua). National magazines included Mana and Te Maori News.