The Hawke’s Bay Times, started to oppose the views of landowners favoured by the Hawke’s Bay Herald, went on the attack in its first weekly issue in July 1861. The Hawke’s Bay Herald, used to holding sway in Napier and through the new province’s country areas, was quick to respond. ‘We observe that the editor, in his opening remarks, broadly insinuates that the Herald has hitherto been under government influence, and has consequently allowed glaring acts of mis-government to pass unnoticed – hence the necessity for another paper. Our shoulders, however, are quite broad enough to bear all this sort of thing, which we looked forward to as a matter of course.‘
The Hawke’s Bay Times struggled, and at various times appeared twice and three times weekly but was most often a weekly. After a period when it did not appear, the paper’s third owner, R Coupland Harding, who is best known for his typographical skills and the invaluable Typo journal, kept it in print as a bi-weekly for more than another year before closing at the end of 1874.
Harding was an advocate of land reform and temperance and his ownership was also notable for the coverage he gave to Maori affairs, in Maori. ‘Nga Hua o te Mohiotanga ma nga Tangata Maori’ (The Fruits of Knowledge for Maori) appeared on page 3 of each Tuesday and Friday issue of the paper for some months in 1874. When the columns began in May, Harding wrote that they were introduced, ‘in accordance with the strongly expressed desire of a number of the principal resident natives, who have intimated their willingness to give their support to the journal in the ordinary pakeha fashion, and finding numerous subscribers among their people’.
The columns included letters to the editor, news of hui held at Rotorua and elsewhere, parliamentary and court news, temperance movement reports and, more prosaically, current sheep, poultry, wheat and flour prices.
Citing financial difficulties, the Hawke’s Bay Times ceased publication at the end of December 1874. The following February, the Grey River Argus noted: ‘The Hawke’s Bay Maoris have purchased the plant of the ‘Hawke’s Bay Times’ with which to publish a newspaper in the Native language.’ Another paper quoted £750 as the price (over $95,000 today).