Six million pages and countingApril 14th, 2020 By Tracy Powell
Four completely new newspaper titles added
As of today, Papers Past now holds more than 6 million pages of newspapers! We’ve reached this important milestone thanks to the addition of four completely new titles and some additional, early issues of the Wanganui Chronicle (its coverage now extends all the way back to 1860). The other four titles are the Gisborne Times (1901-1937), Hokitika Guardian (1917-1940), Opotiki News (1938-1950) and the Saturday Advertiser (July 1875-1878).
Collaborative newspaper digitisation programme
Both the Opotiki News and the Saturday Advertiser were successful applicants in the 2018-2019 Collaborative Newspaper Digitisation Programme. They were microfilmed in 2018-2019 for digitisation in 2019-2020. The former was supported by Sonia Edwards and the latter by Dunedin Public Libraries, part of Dunedin City Council.
God defend New Zealand
The Saturday Advertiser contains the first known publication of New Zealand’s national anthem “God defend New Zealand”. Thomas Bracken, the author of the anthem, was also the owner and editor of the 'Saturday Advertiser', and he decided to run a competition to get his national hymn set to music. The prize on offer was 10 guineas and the judges were three Melbourne musicians, Alberto Zelman, Julius Siede and Thomas Zeplin. It was won by teacher John Joseph Woods, of Lawrence, Otago. You can find out more about the story of the national anthem at Te Ara: Encyclopedia of New Zealand, including a video of it being sung in Māori, English and sign-language.
Gisborne and West Coast see broader coverage
The other titles were part of the National Library’s regular selection programme. We’ve been expanding our coverage of the Gisborne region in the last few years and thanks to the generous support of copyright holders the Gisborne Herald Company, the 'Gisborne Times' now joins the 'Poverty Bay Herald' and the 'Gisborne Herald' online.
We don’t have anything beyond 1920 for the West Coast at the moment, so it's great to push up to 1940 with the 'Hokitika Guardian'. We also have permission from the Greymouth Evening Star company to extend its coverage, along with the 'Kaikoura Star', up to 1950 – so those communities will have this to look forward to over the next few years.
Please head over to Papers Past and explore a few of the more than 6 million newspaper pages.
Co-written by Tracy Powell, with assistance from Melanie Lovell-Smith, Digitisation Advisors at the National Library of New Zealand.