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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Daily Papers

Daily Papers.

“The New Zealand Herald,” the only twopenny morning daily paper published in the colony, is one of the oldest, ablest, most prosperous, and most influential of New Zealand newspapers. It may in a very modified sense be called a Conservative journal, but its great influence arises less from its party allegiance than from its independence, and its persistent habit of speaking out the truth, as it conceives it, under all circumstances. The “Herald” was founded on the 13th of November, 1863, by Mr. W. C. Wilson, who was a native of Scotland, and possessed all the industry and practical shrewdness usually ascribed to natives of that country. He had previously been part proprietor of the “New Zealander,” but severed his connection with that journal to start the “Herald,” the first editor of which was Mr. David Burn. Mr. Burn was succeeded by Mr. T. F. Von Sturmer, who, in turn, gave place to a journalist popularly known as “Snyder” Brown, from the pen-name attached by him to his humorous comments on current affairs. the “Herald” had to encounter the strong opposition of the “Daily Southern Cross,” but in 1876 Mr. A. G. Horton, J.P., who in 1864 had successfully established the “Timaru Herald,” purchased the “Cross,” and a few months later the two papers, with their respective weekly issues, were amalgamated, the “Cross” being merged in the “Herald,” and Mr Horton becoming a partner of Messrs W. S. and J. L. Wilson, sons of the founder, who was then dead. The “Herald” thus became, and still is, the only morning paper published in Auckland. It is admirably printed on good paper, and the general arrangement of its matter is excellent. On Saturday it publishes an eight-page supplement containing specially written articles on various subjects of colonial interest. The proprietors take an active part in the practical management of the paper, and combine great business capacity with an intimate knowledge of all the varied details of modern journalism.

“The Auckland Weekly News” is one of the largest weekly papers published in New Zealand, and is essentially a country settler's paper. It contains a complete summary of the news of the week, and twelve pages of first-class illustrations of the events of the day. The paper deals with every phase of farming life, and special sections are devoted to reports from country districts, to sporting, athletics, market quotations, to ecclesiastical news, to mining and agriculture, the garden, the farm, the dairy, exhibitions, and poultry. Serial stories are also published, and several pages are given to interesting and instructive literature for the family circle.

Mr. William Scott Wilson, Senior Partner in the firm of Messrs Wilson and Horton, Proprietors of the “New Zealand Herald” and the “Auckland Weekly News,” is the eldest son of the late Mr. W. C. Wilson, the founder of the firm. He was born in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1835, and accompanied his parents to Auckland in 1841, in the ship “Sophia Pate.” This ship on leaving Auckland, made for the Kaipara, but was unfortunately wrecked, and the majority of Mr. Wilson's fellow passengers were drowned. Mr. Wilson served an apprenticeship as a printer in the “New Zealander” office, and subsequently assisted his father in establishing the “New Zealand Herald,” much of the success of which has been due to his ability and liberality. Although never taking an active part in political or municipal life, Mr. Wilson has identified himself with the general welfare of the community. He is a director of the South British Fire Insurance Company, and other leading commercial institutions.
Mr. Joseph Liston Wilson, Partner in the firm of Messrs Wilson and Horton, is
Hanna, photo.Mr. J. L. Wilson.

Hanna, photo.Mr. J. L. Wilson.

a son of the firm's founder. He was born in Hobart in 1837, and came to Auckland with his parents four years later. He also served an apprenticeship as a printer in the “New Zealander” office, and assisted in founding the “New Zealand Herald.” Mr. J. L. Wilson has been intimately connected with the commercial prosperity of Auckland, and is a director of the Auckland Savings Bank, Auckland Gas Company, New Zealand Insurance Company, and New Zealand Accident Company. He has for many years been president and a staunch supporter of the Young Men's Christian Association, and is a warm adherent of the Wesleyan Church, though his sympathies and support are freely given towards all kindred institutions which have in view the moral and spiritual welfare of the community.

Mr. A. G. Horton, Partner in the firm of Messrs Wilson and Horton, was born in the North of England, in 1842. He commenced his acquaintance with journalism on the staff of the Hull “Daily Express, and after arriving in New Zealand served a year on the staff of the “Christchurch Press.” Prior to his twenty-first birthday Mr. Horton established the “Timaru Herald,” which he soon made a good property. About eight years later he sold that paper, and subsequently purchased the “Daily Southern Cross.” An amicable arrangement was soon effected between him and the Messrs Wilson; the “Cross” was merged in the “New Zealand Herald,” and Mr. Horton became a partner in the firm. Through his influence page 270 this firm had the distinction of introducing the first Webb-printing machines, and the first English-made linotype machines to New Zealand. Mr. Horton is a director of the New Zealand Insurance Company, and for a number of years hold the office of chairman of the local Board of Directors of the Mutual Life Association of Australasia. Owing to the numerous claims of his business, he has had very little time in recent years for public affairs, but during his residence in Timaru he represented that town in the Provincial Council of Canterbury.

Mr. William Berry, Editor of the “New Zealand Herald,” when about twelve years of age became an apprentice in the composing-room of the “Scotsman” newspaper, which for many years has occupied a high position in the journalism of Great Britain. The life of a printer's devil was then a much harder one than it is now. He had to kindle the fires early in the winter mornings, to sweep the office, to wash rollers, and to feed the printing machine. It can easily be understood that, entering on the business of life at that early age, Mr. Berry was not possessed of much in the way of education, and boys in his position then had to educate themselves at night schools or otherwise, as best they could. But in some respects the position had its advantages in the way of cultivating a literary taste. Mr. Alexander Russell was then the editor of the “Scotsman,” and there was then in Edinburgh, and occasionally contributing to the “Scotsman,” a number of literary men of eminence. Mr. T. B. Macaulay, afterwards Lord Macaulay, represented the city in the House of Commons. John Wilson (Christopher North) was a familiar figure in
Hanne, photo.Mr. W. Berry.

Hanne, photo.Mr. W. Berry.

the streets, and was then writing the “Noctes Ambrosianæ.” De Quincey was also a resident. George Combe, the famous phrenologist, was a frequent contributor to the “Scotsman.” The University had then amongst its professors men who had a European reputation in their departments, and several of these, amongst them Professor Blackie, were frequently in the “Scotsman” office. While Mr. Berry was in the office, the repeal of the newspaper stamp duty, of the paper duty, and of the advertisement duty took place. These were termed the “taxes on knowledge.” Their repeal was virtually a revolution in the newspaper world, and journals succeeded or failed as they adapted themselves, or failed to adapt themselves, to the new conditions. The “Scotsman,” mainly under the wise guidance of the late Mr. John R. Findlay, took the right course, and has met with its reward. Mr. Berry was for many years a reader, and afterwards was assistant foreman in the office. In 1864 he came out to Auckland under an engagement to the “Southern Cross,” then owned by Messrs Creighton and Scales. He remained on that paper as a reporter till 1868, when he went to the “Thames Advertiser.” In 1875 he returned to Auckland, at the instance of the late Mr. W. C. Wilson, of the “New Zealand Herald,” and has been on that paper ever since.
Mr. George Mccullagh Reed. This well-known journalist was born in County Monaghan, Ireland. He was educated at Queen's College, Belfast, where he graduated with high honours in 1856. After spending some time in France and Switzerland, he was ordained a clergyman of the Presbyterian Church. In 1858 he came out to Victoria and took charge of the North Melbourne Presbyterian Church, and soon afterwards was elected first Moderator of the United Presbyterian Churches of Victoria. In 1860 he went to Ipswich, Queensland, and took charge of the Ipswich Presbyterian Church. While there he married Miss Jessie Chalmers Ranken, daughter of the late Mr. John Ranken, Police Magistrate. Subsequently Mr. Reed resigned his ministerial charge, and stood for Ipswich electorate in the Queens-land Parliament, defeating the Attorney-General of the day. In 1870 Mr. Reed came to New Zealand and started the Auckland “Evening Star,” Mr. Brett, the present proprietor, subsequently joining him in partnership. In 1876 he sold out his interest in the “Star” and went to Dunedin, where he founded the “Guardian,” and in conjunction with Mr. George Fenwick he subsequently purchased the “Otago Daily Times.” In 1878 Mr. Reed left Dunedin, having disposed of his interests there, and became emigration agent for New Zealand in Ireland during Sir George Grey's administration. In 1884 Mr. Reed started the “Anglo-New Zealander” in London, and at the same time he acted as special correspondent in England for the “New Zealand Herald” and other New Zealand papers. He also contributed to several London papers, notably the “Pictorial World.” He subsequently disposed of the “Anglo-New Zealander” and returned in 1886 to New Zealand, where he became editor of the Auckland “Evening Bell” and contributed to the columns of the “New Zealand Herald,” “Calamo Currente,” over the nom de plume of “Pollex,” Later he resigned from the “Bell” and joined the editorial staff of the “Herald.” In 1889 he went to Melbourne to edit the Melbourne “Evening Standard,” but in 1890 removed to Sydney, where he joined the staff of the “Sydney
The Late Mr. G. M. Reed.

The Late Mr. G. M. Reed.

Morning Herald” as leader writer. Mr. Reed left Sydney in 1895 and returned to Auckland, where he joined the staff of the “New Zealand Herald” once more, as leader writer and contributor of the brilliant series of articles over the well-known nom de plume of “Colonus.” He died suddenly on the 13th of November, 1898, in his sixty-eighth year. Mr. Reed was at one time Provincial Secretary in the Auckland Provincial Council, and was one of the three Auckland citizens who waited upon Sir George Grey and induced him to enter the New Zealand Parliament. In Masonic matters Mr. Reed was a past master and a Royal Arch Mason. He was a promoter of the Anglo-Israel Association, an active member of the Charitable Aid Board, and at the time of his death was president of the Auckland branch of the Institute of New Zealand Journalists. A writer in the “New Zealand Herald” thus sums up his literary powers: “Mr. Reed was one of the ablest and most versatile writers in the ranks of Australasian journalism. A man of broad and liberal opinions, of an ardent and impulsive nature, of deep and strong sympathies with all classes of suffering humanity and full of reforming zeal, he was intolerant of all that savoured of cant and wrongdoing, and no writer in the press could wield a more powerful or trenchant pen in championing the cause of the oppressed or castigating hypocrisy under whatever cloak it might choose to masquerade. Although much of his work was anonymous and had often to be performed in haste and under conditions which only those inside a newspaper office can appreciate, it was invariably marked by a high quality of literary excellence and bore the page 271 stamp of a vigorous and trained intellect. The brilliant weekly article which he contributed to the ‘Herald’ under the nom de plume of ‘Colonus,’ and which had come to be identified with his name throughout the Colony, showed the wide range of his knowledge, and the striking originality of his mind. He was never commonplace. Whatever he touched he invested with new interest; and to this distinguishing power was added the ineffable charm of a singularly crisp, light, and attractive diction. His style was his own, and was unrivalled in New Zealand journalism for pathos, grace, eloquence and vigour. His moods were many—from gay to grave, from lively to severe—and in each he was a consummate master of his craft.”
“The Auckland Star” was started in 1870, in opposition to a pre-existing journal. By its vigorous management, it soon extinguished and absorbed its rivals, the “Evening News” and “Morning News,” and has since successively overcome and incorporated the “Echo,” “Telephone,” and “Evening Bell,” which bootlessly endeavoured to establish themselves against it. Under the general managership of its principal proprietor, Mr. H. Brett, and the editorship of his partner, Mr. T. W. Leys, the “Star” has steadily advanced until its circulation—certified by leading public accountants as averaging 17,000 copies daily—is acknowledge to be the largest of any newspaper published in the colony. It is energetic in its news services, and its Saturday issue, comprising sixteen pages of readable matter for a penny, touches the high-watermark of newspaper enterprise in New Zealand. In politics the “Auckland Star” has always ranged itself on the Liberal side. Connected with the newspaper, there has grown up under Mr. Brett's vigorous direction a large printing and publishing business, which employs a numerous staff of skilled workmen in every department of
Mr. T. W. Leys.

Mr. T. W. Leys.

typography, lithography, and engraving. This establishment produces the “New Zealand Graphic,” the pioneer of all the illustrated weekly journals now published in New Zealand. The “New Zealand Farmer,” “Auckland Almanac and Handbook,” Colonists' Guide,” “Early History of New Zealand,” and many other works of value, have also been issued from the office. Its large business was lately incorporated as a Limited Liability Company under the title of the “Brett Printing and Publishing Company,” but the proprietorship and management have practically remained unaffected by the change.

Mr. Henry Brett, the principal Proprietor of the “Auckland Star,” the “New Zealand Graphic,” and the “New Zealand Farmer,” is noticed in an article begun on page 125 of this volume, in the section which deals with the ex-mayors of Auckland.