Story: Māori newspapers and magazines – ngā niupepa me ngā moheni

Page 3. Philanthropist and church newspapers

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Philanthropist newspapers

Promotion of temperance, the European way of life and Christianity, as well as concern for the social and political plight of Māori, led to the establishment of other newspapers. Charles Davis (editor of several papers) produced three of brief duration entitled Te Waka o te Iwi (1857), Te Whetu o te Tau (1858) and Ko Aotearoa or The Maori Recorder (1861–62). Davis also encouraged the idea of a press for Māori, who responded affirmatively to this – and his papers – as evident in their letters to the first two newspapers and in the tribal support listed in the first issue of the last.

Te Karere o Poneke

Walter Buller wanted to inform and instruct Māori when he produced Te Karere o Poneke (1857–58), and also to elicit their opinions, in which he succeeded. Despite an assimilationist aspect to its reporting, the paper published considerable correspondence from Māori on matters of the day, both for and against the paper’s viewpoint.

Signs of the times

Notices and advertisements in the newspapers illustrate the 19th-century society. In Te Korimako, for instance, there is notice of straying animals, permission for kauri-gum digging on land, boundaries of ancestral lands and the Maketū Committee’s objection to the dog tax. Advertisers include licensed interpreters, traders with Māori endorsers, Raureti Mokonuiārangi advising back issues of Te Korimako for sale ‘bound like the Bible’1, and John White asking for Māori to write down their traditions, £5 for 300 pages.

Te Korimako

An American philanthropist and advocate of temperance, W. P. Snow, financed Te Korimako (1882–88). Moralistic in tone, it advised Māori on what they should believe, and how they should behave, live and work. It is also valuable journalism, giving insight into local and overseas news, tribal meetings, land claims and sales, and commerce, as well as Māori traditions and the personal lives described in obituaries. Not deterred by the proselytising of Te Korimako, or the other philanthropist newspapers, Māori pursued their time-honoured habit of public debate and sent in correspondence, leaving a legacy of their various perspectives on the prescriptive colonisers.

Church newspapers

Māori-language newspapers are also a source of church history in New Zealand. The first sponsored by a church was the Wesleyan Te Haeata (1859-62), edited by the Reverend Thomas Buddle. Highly didactic – often using Māori proverbs and metaphors in support of its lessons – much of the paper was given over to exhorting Māori to keep the faith, abandon their customary beliefs, and live and be educated as the Pākehā. The reporting on local and overseas news and political matters – the King Movement, war in Taranaki and trouble in Waikato – is conservative, and contributions from Māori are primarily in support of the church and faith.

Broadly read

The wide circulation of Te Toa Takitini, and its role as more than a church newspaper, is suggested by the fact that Apirana Ngata sought comment on the first drafts of his collection of songs (which became the four-volume Ngā mōteatea) by publishing them as supplements to the newspaper from September 1924 to January 1925.

East Coast church newspapers

A very significant press, lasting some 30 years, arose on the East Coast with the Church of England, which published He Kupu Whakamarama (1899), Te Pipiwharauroa (1899–1913), Te Kopara (1913–21), and Te Toa Takitini (1921–32). Noted tribal elders and ministers were editors, including the Reverends Frederick Bennett and Rēweti T. Kōhere. Their erudition, in Christian and Māori teachings, brought a singular character to these publications. The papers combine reporting on church organisation, the faith, education, local issues and world news with a substantial corpus of Māori tradition – songs, genealogies, tribal histories and proverbs.

Rātana and Presbyterian newspapers

Other faith-based papers in Māori include the later Te Whetu Marama o te Kotahitanga (1924), in which the religious interests of the Rātana Church share space with its politics, and the Presbyterian Waka Karaitiana (1933–96), covering church news, the faith and social and political matters.

  1. Te Korimako 52, 17 May 1886, p.11. Back
How to cite this page:

Jane McRae, 'Māori newspapers and magazines – ngā niupepa me ngā moheni - Philanthropist and church newspapers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 April 2024)

Story by Jane McRae, published 22 Oct 2014