Mr. W. Colenso, who came out to New Zealand with a Church Missionary party, was the first printer to operate in New Zealand. He, with the printing press and type belonging to the mission, printed, at the Bay of Islands, a “Maori Testament.” This was prior to these islands being colonised.
The first newspaper in connection with the Port Nicholson settlement was published in London on Friday the 6th of September, 1839. It was called the “New Zealand Gazette,” and contained the draft of the provisional constitution, as drawn up by the settlers, and the local appointments made by the committee. It was demy size, and bore the imprint of Mr. Edward Roe. On Saturday, 18th April, 1840, the “N.Z. Gazette” was published in a tent at Pito-one (Petone) Port Nicholson. The editor was Mr. Samuel Revans, who afterwards became a settler at Greytown, Mr. Revans was a great friend of Mr. H. S. Chapman (afterwards Mr. Justice Chapman), who inaugurated the “New Zealand Journal,” published in London in 1840.
This excellent newspaper referred to Mr. Justice H. S. Chapman, in its issue of 24th June, 1843, in the following terms:—
“Mr. Chapman goes out to New Zealand in a position of conventional influence, as well as actual usefulness, and the high legal office to which he has been elected, to the honour of the Government not less than to his own, will afford him opportunities of carrying out, and encouraging the measures of liberality and sound policy which, when editor of this journal, he so disinterestedly and strenuously advocated. We know that our friends would be better pleased were we to content ourselves with presenting to our readers a mere statement of the proceedings at the public meeting at which the testimonial of his friends was presented to him by the Right Honourable Press of the country.”
On the removal from Pito-one to Thorndon, in 1840, the “Gazette” received the name of the “N.Z. Gazette and Britannia Spectator.” Mr. W. Fox (late Sir William) being editor to 1843. It was re-named the “N.Z. Spectator and Cook Strait Guardian” when the Hon. R. Stokes purchased it some time after. The word “Britannia” was erased, and that of “Wellington” substituted in Mr. T. W. McKenzie's time, up to 1865.
Fig. 275.—Thomas Wilmor McKenzie, Esq. Arrived in the “Adelaide,” 1840, and was associated with Mr. Samuel Revans in the first newspaper published in Wellington.
The “Colonist and Port Nicholson Advertiser” came to light in 1842. Mr. Richard Hanson was proprietor. This paper lived for about twelve months.
The “Independent” was published on the 2nd April, 1844. Messrs E. Roe, E. W. Vincent, J. Muir, G. Fellingham, T. W. McKenzie—later Messrs. Fox, Fitzherbert, Featherston and others, were responsible for the editorial. In 1853, Mr. Wakelin was editor, and Dr. Evans, Messrs. E. G. Wakefield, E. J. Wakefield, and H. Sewell were contributors. The name of the Empire City is attributable to Mr. Wakelin, through an article written by him at that time. Other editors were: John Knowles, 1861; T. W. McKenzie and H. page 437 Anderson, 1865; Mr. A. F. Halcombe, 1869.
The “New Zealand Advertiser” came out in 1859, Messrs. H. Anderson. C. Roe, J. and E. Bull being editors.
The “Evening Post” was first published by Messrs Henry Blundell and Sons and D. Curle, Manners Street, in 1865, and was the first paper “run” in Wellington. It was also the first daily paper published here. Its Christmas number for 1903 shews, on p. 31, a reproduction of the paper published Feb. 8th, 1865; also one for September 26th, 1903. The Wellington public are deeply indebted to the proprietors (Blundell Bros.) for their Christmas numbers, illustrated with pictures of Old Wellington, from 1840 to 1903. A supplementary issue for 1904 was also published.
Amongst its editors were Messrs. G. W. Purnell, F. Gifford, W. H. Pilliett, H. Anderson, E. T. Gillon, D. M. Luckie, Rous Marten, Henry Blundell and Mr. Gresley Lukin. In 1874 Mr. H. Blundell retired in favour of his sons John, Henry and Louis. The present editor (1929) is Mr. Joseph Parker. Reproductions of these gentlemen, besides a wealth of old time pictures may be seen in the “Post” supplement, Feb. 7th, 1925.
The “Wellington Journal,” under the editorship of Mr. R. Wakelin, lived for a short period.
By courtesy Mr. Ernest Blundell] Henry Blundell, Esq. Proprietor of the first daily paper published and “Run” in Wellington in 1865.
The “New Zealand Times,” a morning journal, was inaugurated by Mr. Parsons, a civil servant, in 1868. He rented premises from Mr. E. W. Mills. This venture had a brief existence. In 1874, Sir Julius Vogel formed a “New Zealand Times” Company.
The “Free Lance” was established by Messrs. Geddis and Blomfield in July, 1900. The silver jubilee number appeared on the 8th July, 1925.
The “Dominion” was founded on the first Dominion Day, 26th September, 1907. Mr. C. W. Earle, C.M.G., was the first editor. The Mercer Street offices were occupied during 1928.