The Lake County Mail appears to be the short-lived successor to Queenstown’s Lake Wakatip Mail and the Lake County Press which it had absorbed previously.
During its early years, the Lake Wakatip Mail was, as Queenstown prospered, a bi-weekly that regularly ran to eight pages. In February 1875, with ‘a reduced population, stagnation in trade, and lack of enterprise’, it became a weekly. In 1926, the Mail absorbed Arrowtown’s struggling Lake County Press. It survived another 21 years before closing in February 1947. Shortly afterwards, the Lake County Mail – using part of each paper’s name – appeared for less than a year. There is no published information about the publication, thought to be a weekly.
It has been recorded that, in February 1948, three Central Otago newspapers merged. Stevens Bros, long-time owners of the Alexandra Herald and Central Otago Gazette and more recent publishers of the Dunstan Times, combined these papers with the Lake County Mail. The resulting Central Otago News was published twice weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and based in Alexandra.
Explaining the decision, an editorial in the Alexandra Herald said: ‘While appreciating the fact that local people cherish a genuine fondness for their ‘local rag’, we feel that this step towards combining the interests of Central Otago is one that is wise and necessary .... We feel that Central is no longer a series of isolated, individual towns and districts with widely divergent interests, but is rapidly developing into a coherent whole, one community, Central Otago.’
As of 2015, the Lakes District and Central Otago News was a tabloid weekly, owned by Allied Press, publishers of the Otago Daily Times.
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