Story: Advertising

Otago Witness, 1851

The front page of the first issue of the Otago Witness illustrates the nature of newspaper advertising in New Zealand’s early colonial years. Advertisements were always to be found on the front page, arranged in an unclassified series of columns. In this case, there are lists of goods recently arrived by ship sitting alongside advertisements for horses, cattle, land and houses, and for services such as education and barbers. The page also includes public notices about the setting up of the Otago Horticultural Society and a list of customs duties.

At sixpence the paper was reasonably expensive, although 10 years later it would drop to one penny. Advertisements were charged at threepence a line, with a minimum of two shillings and sixpence. Subsequent advertisements were half-price. Bulk purchase of advertising space began early in New Zealand.

Using this item

National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: Otago Witness, 8 February 1851, p. 1

Permission of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Advertising - Colonial newspapers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 11 August 2022)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 11 Mar 2010