Kaipara and Waitemata Echo
In 1905, Charles de La Roche started the weekly Kaipara Advertiser and Waitemata Chronicle in Helensville.
A 41-year-old entrepreneur, de La Roche was born and grew up in New South Wales. At 21 he was an officer in the Australian Imperial Forces and served in the Sudan War in 1885. Several years later he resigned his commission and moved to New Zealand. Already an experienced journalist, he contributed to a number of South Auckland newspapers while establishing a real estate business at Pukekohe.
He launched his first newspaper, the Tauranga Herald, in 1899, but the bi-weekly survived for only a few months. His next venture, the Rodney and Otamatea Times, based in Warkworth, was to prove much more successful. Late in 1903 he sold the newspaper, moved his real estate business to Helensville and established his third newspaper.
Helensville had been settled in 1863 by Scottish timber millers and kauri milling underwrote the town’s early development, with dairy farming of increasing importance by the beginning of the 20th century.
The Kaipara Advertiser and Waitemata Chronicle had several more owners before Francis Mackenzie absorbed the paper into his Kaipara and Waitemata Echo in 1914. The Echo began publishing in 1907 and the new weekly was soon outperforming its competitor. Mackenzie, a colourful newspaperman who started several Northland newspapers, had worked for the Government Printer in Sydney and was an overseer at Auckland’s Southern Cross before founding his most successful publication, the Northern Luminary, in Kawakawa in 1879. He sold this paper in 1913. Known for the robustness of his journalism he was taken to court for libel and was once attacked in the street by someone claiming he had been defamed. Son Frank took over the Echo when his father died in 1917 and ran it until he retired. C J Claridge, junior, owned the paper until 1927 and then sold to Hilton Venables. The Echo was subsequently incorporated into the Rodney and Otamatea Courier.