Kai Tiaki : the journal of the nurses of New Zealand masthead


Available issues


Region National
Available online 1908-1929
Alternative title(s) New Zealand nursing journal

Kai Tiaki - the Journal of the Nurses of New Zealand, as it was originally titled, was founded by the indomitable nursing visionary Hester Maclean, who came to New Zealand from Australia in 1906 to take up the government role of Assistant Inspector of Hospitals. In this role, she had oversight of all nursing matters. Using her own funds and working in her own time, she established Kai Tiaki, first published in January 1908. The quarterly publication cost the princely sum of four shillings a year. In her inaugural editorial on the purposes of the journal, Maclean said she wanted it to be ‘. . . a bond of union, a common interest, a means of communication, a mutual help, and a road to improvement in their professional work and knowledge, to all nurses of the Dominion . . .’

Maclean chose the title, wanting it to be distinctive and suggestive of the journal’s country of origin. It was suggested to her by a Government interpreter, in response to a request from Maclean. Kai tiaki, in Māori, contains meanings associated with guardianship and protection. The journal has undergone a number of name changes but, despite its official titles, it has always been referred to by the profession at large, as simply Kai Tiaki.

It was first registered as a magazine in 1912.

Maclean maintained ownership of the journal, which reported extensively on nurses’ involvement in World War 1 and on the influenza epidemic of 1918, in which more than 8000 New Zealanders, including some 30 nurses, died. In 1919 a complete set of journals covering the period of the First World War, 1914-1918, was deposited in the British War Museum in London.

In 1923, the New Zealand Trained Nurses’ Association (NZTNA), founded in 1909, bought Kai Tiaki from Maclean, who remained as editor. The journal subscription increased to six shillings a year. The following year the first sub-editor was appointed, and in 1930 Kai Tiaki expanded to become a bi-monthly publication. That year also saw a name change to New Zealand Nursing Journal (Kai Tiaki).

In 1932 Maclean, the journal’s founder and editor for 24 years, died.

From 1939 to 1947 Kai Tiaki was published monthly but in 1942 wartime regulations controlling the use of newsprint saw the number of pages in each issue reduced to 28, then 24. From 1947 to 1959, Kai Tiaki was published two monthly, returning to monthly publication at the dawn of the new decade. 1957 was literally a red letter day for the journal, when it used colour on its cover for the first time and 1958 saw the publication of a Golden Jubilee issue. Kai Tiaki continued to be published monthly until 1988, when publication was reduced to 11 times a year, with a combined December/January issue.