First Māori magazines
Māori magazines started in the 1950s. Since this was a time of language loss, they are predominantly in English. Most, however, also have generous content in Māori; some are entirely in Māori. The magazines are richly representative, and illustrative, of Māori society. They all incorporate the historical and modern, the tribal, social and political, and capture opinions in the journalism and letters. They have a strong emphasis on people, making them very human and engaging, with humour never far away.
New world of writing
Te Ao Hou (meaning ‘the new world’) played a valuable role in supporting Māori writers, especially through its literary competitions. The early work of writers such as Witi Ihimaera and Patricia Grace can be found there, and there was a special issue for Māori writers published in 1959.
Te Ao Hou
The first Māori magazine was Te Ao Hou, a quarterly published by the Department of Maori Affairs from 1952 to 1975. It had several Māori and Pākehā scholars as editors and contributors, and included a great variety of articles about Māori life and people. It also published material from the oral tradition and fiction by emerging Māori writers, and was attractively illustrated with line drawings and a photo-gallery of Māori.
Te Kaea and Tu Tangata
Other Department publications include Te Kaea (1979–81) and Tu Tangata (1981–87), which were similarly broad in coverage. Articles about politics sit alongside those about local people and the lives of individuals. The publications included creative writing, book reviews and reports on the language and arts.
Kōkiri Paetae (1996–2007), a well-illustrated publication from Te Puni Kōkiri – the Ministry of Māori Development, informs readers about the ministry’s work but is primarily dedicated to those who exemplify its subtitle: ‘A celebration of Māori achievement.’
Toi Te Kupu and He Muka
Two titles in Māori support the revitalisation of the language. The colourful Toi Te Kupu (1993–), published by the Ministry of Education for students of te reo Māori, has a lively selection of articles of popular and general interest. He Muka (1998–), the newsletter of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), describes their and others’ projects for the survival of the language.
Māori readership, Māori success
Māori magazines were published primarily, but not exclusively, with a Māori readership in mind. One reason for creating their own publications was, as editors Kara Puketapu in Te Kaea and Derek Fox in Mana wrote, that the mainstream media failed to report fully on Māori people, their activities and views. Kōkiri Paetae suggested another omission on the part of the media – their dwelling on Māori failure. Instead it emphasised the ‘good news of successful Māori initiatives around New Zealand’.1
One collection of independent magazines is tribal. Newsprint examples include Ngāti Maniapoto’s Kia Hiwa Ra (1991–98), the eponymous Kahungunu (1991–95), Pu Kaea (1992–95; 2006–) from Mataatua, and the East Coast’s Turanganui a Kiwa Pipiwharauroa (1994–97). Ngāi Tahu’s Te Karaka (1995–) began as a glossy magazine; like others it has become an online publication.
In these publications the tribal or regional affiliation and activities are balanced by attention to political issues of concern to all Māori. Social, sporting and cultural events are recorded, and there are reports on health, finance, education, business, farming and fishing. There is creative writing and articles about the arts and the language. There are accounts of tribal history, genealogies, songs and biographies of chiefs. All are copiously illustrated with drawings and many photos of people.
At a national level, Mana (1993–2017) brought a new style and a broader audience – it was ‘the Maori news magazine for all New Zealanders’. A glossy, it spanned the contemporary landscape of Māori life in terms of politics, media, business, sport, education, social life and the arts and literature, while not neglecting the historical and traditions.
Te Maori News
Te Maori News (1996–97), at first local to Auckland but later circulating nationally, reported on education, commerce, industry, health, government and Māori businesses. It included informative advertising about educational and training opportunities, and also covered cultural activities and the performing arts.
The East Coast’s Turanganui-a-Kiwa Pipiwharauroa takes its name from an ancestor, the Māori-language newspaper Te Pipiwharauroa He Kupu Whakamarama (1899–1913), which was published by H. W. Williams at the Te Rau Printing Works in Gisborne. The contemporary paper acknowledges this genealogical connection by incorporating facsimile pages from the older publication in some issues.
In the illustrated Tu Mai (1999– ; from 2010 an online magazine), with its subtitle ‘an indigenous New Zealand perspective’, subscribers can read about politics, Treaty of Waitangi settlements, health, business, agriculture, industry, local news, the arts and performers, and successful Māori in many professions.
All these Māori magazines share spirited reporting on contemporary Māori life, people of all ages, historical heritage, and Māori opinion, which is rare in national periodicals.