Maori Messenger : Te Karere Maori masthead

1842-1863


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Background

Region National
Available online 1842-1863
Alternative title(s) Te Karere o Nui Tireni; Te Manuhiri Tuarangi and Maori Intelligencer; Te Karere Maori, or, Maori Messenger

There were five iterations of this government-funded publication, with varying titles.

Te Karere o Nui Tireni (The New Zealand Messenger) was published from January 1842 to January 1846. This was the first Maori-language newspaper.  The paper ceased being published when war broke out in the north. Altogether there were 50 issues from 1842.

This paper was edited for the government by Hori Karaka (George Clarke), government-appointed Protector of Aborigines, Thomas Spencer Forsaith, a Hokianga settler and shopkeeper who was later appointed Sub-Protector of Aborigines, and Dr Edward Shortland.

According to Hocken, the newspaper promoted the view that ‘the Treaty of Waitangi enfolded both parties to the contract’ (Otago Daily Times, 20 July 1910, p. 8).

The Maori Messenger : Te Karere Maori was published between 1849 and 1854. It was a revival of Te Karere o Nui Tireni and contained similar material. The paper presented issues facing the government and Maori people, essentially from the government viewpoint. Hocken stated that ‘Political and polemical subjects were forbidden, those of general interest and value being alone admitted. Special attention was ... paid to the cultivation of land and flax and the management of sheep and cattle’ (ibid).

The last issue was published in May 1854. The paper was reinstated in a new format nine months later (1855–1861). It was first edited by Hare Reweti (Charles Davis), who came to Hokianga from New South Wales in the 1830s. He acted initially as a tutor to the children of the Wesleyan missionaries. When the mission was disbanded he moved to Auckland (ibid). Later editors included David Burn and Walter Buller.

The paper was reborn as Te Manuhiri Tuarangi and Maori Intelligencer (Visitor from Afar, March–November 1861). The editorial in the first issue claimed that the paper was more comprehensive and more widely circulated than previous Messengers. Correspondents in each Maori district were appointed to provide local news.  The newspaper's masthead contained the motto ‘Kia whakakotahitia te Maori me te Pakeha’ (Let the Maori and Pakeha be united). The first issue stated that the aim of the newspaper is to promote ‘the complete union of the Pakeha and Maori races in New Zealand/ka mau tonu ta matou whakaaro ki te tikanga whakakotahi i te Maori i te Pakeha ki Nui Tirani’ (1 March 1861: 4).

Te Karere Maori, or, Maori Messenger (1861–1863) was a continuation of Te Manuhiri Tuarangi (1861) with the same physical format, although the number of pages was reduced and the issues appeared less regularly. The intention of the newspaper and subject coverage were the same as Te Manuhiri Tuarangi. The paper was closed down in September 1863.

For further information about the five different iterations of the newspaper, see P Parkinson and P Griffith, Books in Maori (Auckland: Reed, 2004), S1, S3, S5, S11 and S12, pp. 744–746, 746–748, 749–751, 755–756, and 757–758.  For further background, see J Curnow, ‘A Brief History of Maori-Language Newspapers’, in Rere Atu, Taku Manu! edited by J Curnow, N Hopa and J McRae (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2002), pp. 17–41 (pp. 17–20).

The National Library would like to thank Gail Dallimore for providing information used in essays about Maori newspapers.

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