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Book & Print in New Zealand : A Guide to Print Culture in Aotearoa

Stationery manufacture and supply

Stationery manufacture and supply

The earliest representatives of the 'booktrade' were stationers, and the conjunction of the sale of writing materials and commercial office appliances with the sale of books has always been common in New Zealand. In the 19th century it was only in the largest towns of England that the sale of books had been separated from that of stationery, and, in New Zealand, many of the larger printing firms in the larger towns sold books and were engaged in the manufacture of some forms of commercial stationery such as account books. Nevertheless, even in the largest manufacturing stationers a high proportion of the stationery for sale had been imported.

The 19th-century industrial exhibitions, most notably the 1885 New Zealand Industrial Exhibition in Wellington, included displays of commercial stationery (which included copying presses, pens, ink and rubber stamps), and the Official Record of that exhibition comments on significant contributions. The evidence to the 1895 Tariff Commission (AJHR H.2, 1895) makes it plain how significant the impact of imported materials and finished goods were on the manufacturing trade.

H.J. Tubbs contributed a brief survey of the firms, 'Stationery manufacturing', to McKay (1940). Apart from this, the history of the trade must, as so often, be followed through the trade journals and occasional advertising supplements in newspapers, even though, in many respects, the stationery and printing industries have now converged in the computer industry.