Patea Mail masthead

1875-1941


Available issues

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October
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November
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December
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Background

Region Taranaki
Available online 1875-1941
Alternative title(s) Patea County Mail; Patea Daily Mail; Patea County Press; Patea & Waverley Press

Patea’s first newspaper was begun by the man widely known as the country’s most illustrious ‘ragplanter’ – responsible for beginning over 30 newspapers.

The Wanganui Chronicle noted his arrival in the region in March 1875: ‘A gentleman from the West Coast, Hokitika, who is about starting a bi-weekly newspaper in Patea, intends to make his way from New Plymouth to Patea by the mountain road .... After a long experience of West Coast road difficulties, he is of the opinion that anything in the way of travelling in this province will be comparatively mild. Mr Ivess is the gentleman’s name ....’

After the Patea Mail was launched on 14 April 1875, the Taranaki Herald commented: ‘Newspapers, as a rule, are not the best speculations in which a person can invest his money; but, from the appearance of the Mail, we imagine that it will be a very profitable affair ....’  This would have been music to ears of the owner, Joseph Ivess,  who was always more interested in selling on than running for any length of time the many papers he started.

Alexander Black ran the paper for the absent proprietor for a period, and briefly leased it, before Ivess appeared again, selling the Patea Mail to Edward Houghton in June 1880. With the sale came a change of name to Patea County Mail, the Taranaki Herald noting: ‘He [Houghton] has altered the style of its ‘make-up’, putting the advertisements at the bottom of the paper, which is a very attractive feature in it’.

In an unsuccessful experiment, the paper became the Patea Daily Mail for about four months from January 1882, the masthead then reverting to Patea Mail. James Clayton, previously manager of the Christchurch Daily Telegraph, bought the paper in September of that year. Another short-term owner, he then sold to Thomas Hamerton in June 1884. Hamerton re-launched the paper as the Patea County Press in October 1887, publishing on Mondays and Thursdays.

Thomas Hamerton sold to W C Cargill in late 1903. The paper William Cargill published and edited appeared three days a week – on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays –  and was, according to the 1908 Wellington provincial edition of The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, ‘ ....a four-page sheet of seven columns per page. Each issue contains about twelve columns of reading matter, apart from advertisements’.  TheCyclopedia also noted: ‘The paper is independent in politics, and has a very extensive circulation, in the Patea and Waverley districts.’

There were several subsequent owners after Cargill, including Edward F Hemingway who bought the plant of the short-lived tri-weekly, the Waverley Tribune, in 1914. The Patea paper, subsequently known as the Patea and Waverley Press, was carried on by Hemingway until 1941, when it was another wartime victim. An attempt to revive the paper in 1946 was unsuccessful.

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