Kupu Whakataki


Te Karere Maori 1855-1861

The Maori Messenger

Kōrero Tā    He Whakamārama    Kaupapa    Nohoanga

Kōrero Tā

Published: January, 1855-February, 1861.

250 x 200mm., number of pages vary (16-56 pages), double columns, English and Maori, issued irregularly in monthly and two monthly numbers, occasional illustrations and the Royal Coat of Arms surmounting the title, contains Government advertisements, cost not given, probably free, coloured paper wrappers with the title and table of contents in English only. Printed for the New Zealand Government at the Southern Cross office by Williamson and Wilson "He mea ta ki te whare 'Whetu o te Tonga'".

The Messenger was first edited by Hare Reweti (Charles Davis), who came to Hokianga from New South Wales in the 1830s. He acted initially as a tutor to the children of the Wesleyan missionaries. When the mission was disbanded he moved to Auckland (Hocken, Otago Daily Times, July 20, 1910). Later editors included David Burn and Walter Buller.

The editor called on "all lovers of the Maori" to contribute to the paper "tukua mai nga pukapuka ki o matou wharangi, e nga tangata katoa e aroha ana ki nga Maori" (January 1, 1858: 1), and hoped that Maori people too would forward items for publication "E mea ana ano matou, me tuku mai nga tangata i a ratou pukapuka, i roto i tenei takiwa, i tenei takiwa" (ibid.).

By the time Governor Grey returned, in 1860, the paper had dwindled down to nothing (Taylor, 1868: 306).

For further physical details refer to Herbert W. Williams, A Bibliography of Printed Maori to 1900, Item 271.

This paper is written in English with Maori translation.

He Whakamārama

The newspaper was a revival of Te Karere Māori 1849-1854 "he hoa tawhito tenei he mea hipoki ki te kakahu hou-an old friend in a new dress" (January 1, 1855: 1).


Content and subjects include:

  • local, foreign, and religious news
  • shipping arrivals and departures
  • food prices
  • legislation affecting Maori people such as land acts and the establishment of "Native Districts" with "Native Assessors"
  • obituaries
  • public notices such as boundaries of land acquired by the Government
  • items on fruit and flower shows in Auckland and the Auckland regatta
  • correspondence from Maori people throughout Aotearoa
  • articles on
  • farming
  • the history of England
  • Pitcairn Islanders
  • English laws and customs, particularly concerning land
  • Maori traditions, waiata
  • biographical notes on Te Kani-a-Takirau (a high-ranking Ngati Porou chief) and Te Wherowhero (the first Maori King)
  • meetings between the Governor and chiefs of Waikato
  • extracts from English language newspapers
  • a verbatim report of the 1860 Kohimarama Conference at which the Treaty of Waitangi was discussed, particularly with regard to the Maori King Movement, and an allegiance to the Queen of England was reaffirmed through the collection of signatures of Maori chiefs present. According to Gudgeon this was known to Ngati Porou as the Treaty of Kohimarama (in Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives 1879, G-1: 6).


This newspaper is on microfilm and microfiche. Original copies are held at:

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington:

1861Jan.-Feb. 28

Auckland Institute and Museum Library:

1855Feb.-March, May, July
1857April 30
1858May, Aug.-Sept., Nov.-Dec.
1859Jan. 31-Feb. 26, May 31, June 16, Aug.15, Oct 31, Nov.15-Dec.
1860May 31, July 14-Nov. 30

Auckland Public Library:

1859Jan. 15, May 31
1860July 14-Nov.
1861Feb. 13

Auckland University Library:

1855Jan.-Feb., Nov.
1858Feb. 15
1860July 14-Nov. 30

Dunedin Public Library

1860Aug. 3,15, Dec. 31

Hocken Library, Dunedin:

1855(all except Feb.)
1856(all except Jan., Feb., May)
1857Jan.- Dec.
1858(all except Aug.-Sept., Nov. 30-Dec.15)
1860(all except June 30)
1861Jan.-Feb. 28

New Plymouth Public Library:

1857some issues not held
1858some issues not held
1859some issues not held
1860some issues not held
1861Jan.-Feb. 28

The Parliamentary Library, Wellington:

1861Jan.-Feb. 28

Wellington Public Library:

1855Jan.-Dec.(Jan. imperfect)
1856some issues not held
1857some issues not held
1859some issues not held
1860some issues not held
1861Jan.-Feb. 28.