The Press

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The Press
  • The 14 July 2023 front page of
  • The Press
Type Daily newspaper
Owner(s) Stuff Ltd
Editor Kamala Hayman
Founded25 May 1861
Headquarters Christchurch, New Zealand
Circulation 37,002 (2019) [1]
ISSN 0113-9762

The Press (Māori : Te Matatika) is a daily newspaper published in Christchurch, New Zealand, owned by media business Stuff Ltd. First published in 1861, the newspaper is the largest circulating daily in the South Island and publishes Monday to Saturday. One community newspaper—Northern Outlook—is also published by The Press and is free.


The newspaper has won the title of New Zealand Newspaper of the Year (in its circulation category) three times: in 2006, 2007 and 2012. It has also won the overall Newspaper of the Year title twice: in 2006 and 2007. [2] [3] [4]


Former Press Building in Cashel Street, in use by the newspaper until 1908 Former Press Building, Cashel Street.jpg
Former Press Building in Cashel Street, in use by the newspaper until 1908


James FitzGerald came to Lyttelton on the Charlotte Jane in December 1850, and was from January 1851 the first editor of the Lyttelton Times , Canterbury's first newspaper. [5] From 1853, he focussed on politics and withdrew from the Lyttelton Times. [6] After several years in England, he returned to Canterbury concerned about the proposed capital works programme of the provincial government, with his chief concern the proposed rail tunnel connecting Christchurch and Lyttelton, which he thought of as fiscally irresponsible, but supported by his old newspaper, the Lyttelton Times. The newspaper's editor, Crosbie Ward, made an imputation of unknown content, and this spurred FitzGerald to set up The Press as a rival newspaper. [7]

FitzGerald had dinner with John Watts-Russell, who put up £500 on the condition that FitzGerald would be in charge of the new newspaper. Next, he enlisted the support of the Rev. John Raven, who organised many of the practical aspects, like organising a printer and a printing press. Other members of the early committee that organised The Press were Henry Porcher Lance (brother of James Dupré Lance), [8] Henry Tancred, and Richard J. S. Harman; all of them were colonial gentry. [9]

The Press was first published on 25 May 1861 from a small cottage, making it the oldest surviving newspaper in the South Island of New Zealand. The cottage belonged to Raven on land known as Raven's paddock on the west side of Montreal Street, between Worcester and Gloucester Streets, opposite the present-day Christchurch Art Gallery. [10] The first edition was a six-page tabloid and was sold for sixpence. The paper continued as a weekly. The public saw FitzGerald as the proprietor of The Press, but the newspaper saw reason to publicly state that "it is not a fact that Mr FitzGerald has either pecuniary or official connexion" with it; he was however the driving force behind the paper. [10]


On 13 June 1863, the first part of Samuel Butler's Erewhon appeared in The Press in an article signed with the pseudonym Cellarius (q.v.) and headed "Darwin among the Machines." [11]

In 1905, The Press purchased a block of the Cathedral Square site for £4,000. The Board then purchased the right of way (Press Lane) and what was going to be the original Theatre Royal site from the Theatre Royal Syndicate for £5000. The Gothic part of the Press building (occupied by the company until 22 February 2011) was built starting in 1907 and the Press staff shifted into it in February 1909 from their Cashel Street premises.

Old logo The Press Christchurch.png
Old logo

In the 1930s, The Press began to seek solutions to the slow delivery times of the newspaper to the West Coast. Roads at the time were difficult, and the New Zealand Railways Department was unwilling to reschedule any of its ordinary passenger trains to operate at the early morning times desired by The Press as patronage would have been uneconomic, and freight trains did not provide a desirable measure of swiftness. Accordingly, The Press was willing to subsidise the construction and operation of two small Leyland diesel railbuses to carry the newspapers by rail at a desirable time. These little railbuses began service on 3 August 1936 and left Christchurch at 2:20 am, travelling down the Midland Line to reach Greymouth at 6:40 am and then continue along the Ross Branch as far as Hokitika, arriving just before 8:00 am. This provided substantially quicker delivery of the newspaper than was previously possible. However, these railbuses were intended to only be a temporary measure and they were replaced by the much larger Vulcan railcars as soon as they arrived in New Zealand in the early 1940s.

Into the 21st century

Cover on 16 March 2008 The Press newspaper cover.png
Cover on 16 March 2008

In 1995, The Press was the country's first news outlet that established a website for news. In 2000, Independent Newspapers Ltd (INL) launched its news website branded as Stuff and from then on, The Press and Stuff worked on online content collaboratively. [12]

In February 2011, The Press main building in central Christchurch was badly damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. All production was operated from their printing plant near Christchurch Airport until June 2012, when the central Christchurch building was partially rebuilt and upgraded. It was one of the first buildings in the Christchurch CBD to be rebuilt and operational.

The paper format for the weekday editions changed from broadsheet to compact in 2018, with only the Saturday edition retaining the larger format. [13]

On 27 April 2023, it was announced that the newspaper would launch a new website that would new be subscription based, this would also happen to other Stuff Inc. owned newspapers The Post and Waikato Times. [14] On 29 April, the new website was launched which also featured a new logo for the newspaper and all content now paywalled. [15]


The old motto on the masthead – "Nihil utile quod non-honestum" translates to "Nothing is useful that is not honest." Like The Age in Australia, the newspaper's masthead featured the Royal Arms.

Joe Bennett (left), Andrew Holden (former editor of The Press), and Rod Oram Bennett Holden Oram.jpg
Joe Bennett (left), Andrew Holden (former editor of The Press), and Rod Oram


The early ownership, beyond the newspaper having been financed by Watts-Russell, is unclear. In February 1862, an attempt was made to form a company and formalise the ownership of the paper. A deed of association for "The Proprietors of The Press" was drafted, and it lists the five members of the previous committee (Watts-Russell, Raven, Lance, Tancred, and Harman), plus five new members: Alfred Richard Creyke, John Hall, Joseph Brittan, Isaac Cookson, and James Somerville Turnbull. [16] The deed was not executed, but four-month later, FitzGerald, who had no funds, was the sole owner "through the liberality of the proprietors", as he called it later. [17] FitzGerald lost control of the newspaper ownership in 1868 and the Press Company was incorporated as the owner. That company was dissolved in 1890 and George Stead bought the assets. Stead established the Christchurch Press Company and became its chairman. [18] [19]

The Christchurch Press Company was sold to Independent Newspapers Ltd in 1987, and INL in turn was bought by Fairfax New Zealand in 2003. [12] The Australian parent company, Fairfax Media, merged with Nine Entertainment Co. in December 2018.


The following have been editors of The Press: [20]

NamePortraitTerm of office
George Sale 1861
Joseph Colborne-Veel Joseph Veel Colborne-Veel (Press).jpg 18611868
Charles Purnell [21] Charles Purnell (year unknown).jpg 1868
Joseph Colborne-Veel Joseph Veel Colborne-Veel (Press).jpg 18681878
John Steele Guthrie18781894
Michael Cormac Keane18941919
William Triggs 19191929
Oliver Duff 19291932
Pierce Hugo Napier Freeth19321957
Arthur Rolleston Cant19571973
Norman Macbeth19731978
Binney Lock [22] 19781990
David Wilson19901997
Bruce Baskett1997
Tim Pankhurst [23] 19972001
Paul Thompson [24] 20012007
Andrew Holden [25] Andrew Holden (editor).jpg 20072012
Joanna Norris 20122017
Kamala Hayman 2017present

Awards and nominations

2023Voyager Media Awards [26] Weekly newspaper of the year (The Weekend Press)Winner
Voyager newspaper of the year (The Weekend Press)Finalist
2021Voyager Media Awards [27] Metropolitan Newspaper of the YearWinner
Voyager newspaper of the year (The Weekend Press)Winner
Weekly newspaper of the year (The Weekend Press)Winner
Best newspaper front pageWinner
2020 Voyager Media Awards Best newspaper front pageWinner
Newspaper of the Year (more than 30,000 circulation)Finalist
2019 Voyager Media Awards [28] Newspaper of the Year (more than 30,000 circulation)Runner-up
2018 Voyager Media Awards [29] Best coverage of a major news eventRunner-up
2017Voyager Media Awards [30] Best newspaper-inserted magazineJoint winner
Best coverage of a major news eventJoint winner
2013Voyager Media Awards [31] Best Innovation in Multimedia StorytellingWinner
Best Digital Community InteractionWinner
2012Voyager Media Awards [3] Newspaper of the Year (over 30,000 circulation)Winner
Best Newspaper DesignWinner
2011Canon Media Awards [32] Best DesignWinner
Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association: [33] Newspaper of the Year (circulation between 25,000 and 90,000)Winner
2007Qantas Media Print Awards [2] Newspaper of the YearWinner
Daily Newspaper over 25,000 circulationWinner
Newspaper Specialist Page or Section: Arts SectionWinner
Newspaper Specialist Page or Section: Food & Nutrition SectionWinner
2006Qantas Media Print Awards [4] Best New Zealand NewspaperWinner
Best Newspaper with a circulation over 25,000Winner
Best Newspaper InvestigationWinner
Newspaper Specialist Page or Section: Food & Nutrition SectionWinner
Newspaper Specialist Page or Section: Motoring SectionWinner
Newspaper Specialist Page or Section: Other Section: How the Press WorksWinner

Awards and nominations for journalists employed by The Press

2023Voyager Media Awards [26] Best photography – newsChris SkeltonWinner
Best reporting – generalNadine PorterFinalist
Best reporting – local governmentTina LawFinalist
2021Voyager Media Awards [27] Best reporting – crime and justiceBlair EnsorFinalist
Best reporting – social issues, including health and educationVicki AndersonFinalist
Student Journalist of the YearSteven WaltonFinalist
2020 Voyager Media Awards Best photography – newsGeorge HeardWinner
Best photography – newsMark BakerFinalist
Judges' prize for the single best news photoStacy SquiresWinner
Best reporting – crime and justiceBlair EnsorWinner
Regional Journalist of the YearHamish McNeillyWinner
2019 Voyager Media Awards [34] Regional Journalist of the YearHamish McNeillyWinner
2018 Voyager Media Awards [29] Cartoonist of the Year Sharon Murdoch Winner
Best photography – newsJoseph JohnsonWinner
Best photography – portraitChris SkeltonWinner
Best news videoGeorge HeardWinner
Best feature/photographic essayJoseph JohnsonRunner-up
Reporter – crime, justice and/or social issues Martin van Beynen Runner-up
2017Voyager Media AwardsCartoonist of the YearSharon MurdochWinner [30]
Arts and Entertainment Reporter of the YearVicki AndersonWinner [30]
Best Short-form Feature Writer – Arts and EntertainmentCharlie GatesWinner [30]
2016Voyager Media AwardsVideographer of the YearIain McGregorWinner [35]
Junior Feature Writer of the YearTess McClureWinner [35]
Cartoonist of the YearSharon MurdochWinner [35]
2015Voyager Media AwardsBest Environmental PhotographyKirk HargreavesWinner [36]
Newspaper Feature Writer of the YearCharles AndersonWinner [36]
Newspaper Feature Writer GeneralCharles AndersonWinner [36]
2013Voyager Media Awards:Best Sports PictureIain McGregorWinner [31]
2012Voyager Media AwardsEditorial Writer of the YearBruce RennieWinner [3]
Senior Newspaper Feature Writer of the YearMartin van BeynenWinner [3]
Senior Reporter of the YearMartin van BeynenWinner [3]
Junior Reporter of the YearOlivia CarvilleWinner [3]
Arts and Entertainment Reporter of the YearVicki AndersonWinner [3]
Best VideoDaniel TobinWinner [3]
2004Qantas Media Awards [37] Senior Reporter of the YearYvonne MartinWinner
Best single breaking news pictureDavid HallettWinner
Best Editorial Graphic ArtistGraphics teamWinner
Best Feature Writer (Environment and Conservation) Kamala Hayman Winner
Best Feature Writer (Junior)Anna ClaridgeWinner
Best Feature Writer (Crime and Justice)Matt ConwayWinner
Best Feature Writer (Food and Nutrition)Kate FraserWinner
Best Feature Writer (Human Relations)Yvonne MartinWinner
Best Feature Writer (Social issues)Dave CourtneyWinner
Best Columnist (Sport and Racing)Tony SmithWinner
2000Qantas Media Awards [38] Best Feature Writer (Human Relations)Cate BrettWinner
Best Feature Writer (Environment and Conservation)Tim PankhurstWinner
Best Columnist (Overall) Joe Bennett Winner
Best Columnist (Humour) David McPhail Winner

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