New Zealand Illustrated Magazine masthead

1899-1905


Available issues

Background

Available online 1899-1905
Alternative title(s) N.Z. Illustrated Magazine

In the 1880s and 1890s some New Zealand publishers thought that there was a market for popular periodicals with a strong local focus. A number of titles, including Zealandia (1889), Citizen (1895), Critic (1899), were published in various cities. None of them met with much success or lasted for any length of time. The most significant of these parochial periodicals was the New Zealand Illustrated Magazine.

The Illustrated Magazine was a monthly, and was published in Auckland from 1899 to 1905. It carried contributions from most of the top New Zealand writers of the day including Apirana Ngata, Jane Mander, James Cowan and Elsdon Best. It featured poetry, short stories and articles and was heavily illustrated by the likes of Frances Hodgkins and Kennaway Henderson.

The Illustrated Magazine tried but failed to compete with similar periodicals from overseas such as the Strand and the Bulletin. It is interesting to speculate as to why the New Zealand public preferred the imported varieties to the local. Perhaps the reading public was not as nationalistic as publishers thought they were and found that English and Australian periodicals represented their views as well or better than the indigenous magazines. It is also likely that the New Zealand periodicals suffered from competition with local newspapers, particularly the illustrated weeklies such as the Free Lance and Weekly News. These weekly papers had similar content to periodicals like the Illustrated Magazine and were well established by the late nineteenth century and very popular with the public.

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