Scope and Terminology

This website is an attempt to list every newspaper ever published in New Zealand. Which begs the question: what is a newspaper anyway?

What do the libraries say?

The Library of Congress uses the ISO definition:

International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has defined a newspaper as: a serial publication which contains news on current events of special or general interest. The individual parts are listed chronologically or numerically and appear usually at least once a week. Newspapers usually appear without a cover, with a masthead, and are normally larger than 297mm x 420 mm [approximately 12 x 17 inches] in size.

The National Library of New Zealand extends this definition as follows:

On a practical level, we will consider a publication to be a newspaper if it meets at least six of the following seven criteria:
  • it is a source of information on current events of general interest
  • it is printed at least weekly
  • it is originally printed on newsprint
  • it does not have a cover
  • it does have a masthead
  • it is A3 or greater in size
  • it has four or more columns on a typical page
This generally describes the newspapers on this website.

Scope of the Website

This website attempts to list serial publications that:

Newspapers, Mastheads, and Editions

Most of the publications listed on this site are described as Newspapers. However, a few other entries are listed, including:

The Data

The most recent refresh of the PublicationsNZ data was in March 2013.

While the PublicationsNZ data is quite comprehensive, there are some omissions, inconsistencies, and even mistakes. These are tidied up as they are discovered.

Generally, the data for older records (pre-1950) is pretty good, but some more recent records (particularly for free community newspapers) can be patchy.

The newspaper records are being updated over time, and links to digital holdings added.


Some Newspapers on this site are described as Continuing or Continued by another newspaper. Generally, this means the newspaper has changed it's name. For Example, the Bush Advocate is Continued By the Dannevirke Advocate.

In many cases it is difficult to say whether one newspaper has ceased and been continued by another newspaper, or whether there is only one newspaper that has adopted a new masthead. When making this call, we consider several factors including:

Newspaper titles

When a newspaper has used several different mastheads over a period of time, it raises the issue of what that newspaper should be called. For example, why do we call Gisborne's first newspaper the Poverty Bay Standard and not Standard?

Generally, this is a judgement call, but when there are more than one possible title we prefer titles that:

Where two newspapers (or Editions, or Mastheads) have the same title, we'll sometimes add a qualifier in square brackets after the title, such as Evening Star [Dunedin].

This website is based on data from Publications New Zealand, Papers Past, and individual contributions. It was developed by Gordon and Stella. Report issues to our GitHub project page.