There have been many and varied attempts at establishing newspapers in Wellington over the last 180 years, but the two that became our local papers of record for the most of that time and which form the most comprehensive newspaper record of our city were:
- The Evening Post (1863-2002)
- The Dominion (1907-2002)
These two papers merged in 2002 to become our current paper of record, The Dominion Post.
Central Library closure collection note
Unfortunately because of the closure of the Central Library, Wellington City Libraries’ microfilm collection and Evening Post clippings collection are currently in storage.
We hope to make these resources available again soon, but because of this we’ve provided suggestions other than our own resources below for accessing and searching back issues of Wellington newspapers.
The Evening Post (1863-2002)
The Evening Post was founded by Henry Blundell and began publication as a daily in Wellington on 8 February 1865:
"The new paper aimed to record every event ‘within a mile of Martin’s fountain’ which lay at the corner of Featherston Street and Lambton Quay. By focussing on local issues, attention to detail and high-quality writing the Post soon established itself as the leading Wellington paper, a position it did not relinquish during its long career. Its editorial policy was politically neutral. Unlike other papers of the time, which were established to publicise a particular political opinion, the Post was not aligned to any political factions and was therefore able to comment freely on political and other matters."
The Evening Post was much stronger in its coverage of local news, events and local sport. It was also the 'go to' newspaper for things like birth, death and engagement notices.
The Dominion (1907-2002)
The Dominion was launched on the first Dominion Day (the day that NZ formally ceased being a colony of Britain) on September 26, 1907:
"The Dominion was founded to be the voice of the conservative element in Wellington politics, and as such was at the opposite end of the political spectrum to the Post. This, combined with the fact that the Dominion was a morning rather than an evening paper, meant that serious competition with the Post was not an issue as each had its own niche in the capital city."
The Dominion was stronger for its coverage of business news and politics. It also probably had slightly better coverage for wider-regional news (i.e. something that happened in (say) Whanganui might be better covered in the Dominion than the Evening Post. Also, anything dramatic that happened in the late afternoon or evening is likely to be well covered in the Dom the next day.
Finding and accessing historical articles
Below we’ve tried to outline some key methods for finding newspaper article content over different time periods, and also to describe the methods of access in more detail (further below the table).
An overview of time periods and sources
|Time period||Finding method|
Early newspaper content is available for searching and to view the original copy or full-text on PapersPast.
Coverage varies for each paper:
No indexing available, but:
New Zealand Local History Indexes — Some access available through our local New Zealand Local History Indexes. These are searchable online indexes relating to our vertical file collections — filing cabinets of newspaper and magazine clippings maintained and organised into subject folders over many years before the availability of full-text database searching. More about the Local History Indexes
Microfilm — If you have key dates to search around, you can use microfilm to scroll through issues of the daily papers around those dates.
More information about accessing microfilm below.
Both papers are indexed on Index New Zealand for identifying articles of interest.
The full article can then be accessed via microfilm.
Both papers can be searched on our newspaper databases (Australia & New Zealand Newsstream), and the full text of articles can be viewed.
Only article content is available to be searched and viewed, not other content such as obituaries etc.
|The last three months up to today’s date||
The entire paper's content can be viewed on PressReader in our libraries -- local New Zealand papers are unfortunately not available to view from home on PressReader, only in our physical library buildings.
Digitised New Zealand newspapers, periodicals, letters, diaries and parliamentary papers from 1839 to 1945. Fully searchable, and both the image of your found article/page, and text drawn from the scan of the page are available.
- The Evening Post from 1865 to 1945
- The Dominion from 1907 to 1920
Plus, many other early Wellington region publications.
Index New Zealand (INNZ)
An index of abstracts and descriptions of articles in New Zealand publications from 1988 to the present in English, and from September 2007 in te reo Mÿori.
Although INNZ doesn't have the full text of articles, it indexes a huge number of New Zealand magazines, newspapers and journals, and can be hugely useful for finding articles in your area of interest. Use INNZ in combination with the National Library in Thorndon’s newspaper microfilm collection to read the articles themselves.
INNZ can also be useful to use before searching in our full-text newspaper databases (for content from 1996 on). Because it is just an index, it can sometimes return less scattered, more focused results than full-text searching. You can then locate the article itself in the full-text database.
Microfilm at the National Library
Unfortunately Wellington City Libraries’ own microfilm collection is currently unavailable for access (see the Central Library closure collection note above).
This is the only format available for accessing the content of Wellington newspaper articles published before 1996.
While our own microfilm is unavailable, another option for accessing newspaper microfilm in Wellington is the National Library’s newspaper collection:
New Zealand Local History Indexes
These are searchable online indexes relating to our vertical file collections — filing cabinets of newspaper and magazine clippings maintained and organised into subject folders over many years before the availability of full-text database searching. These indexes provide subject access to these publications for time periods where no other indexing or searching is available.
Full text newspaper databases
From 1996 on, full text of articles (and full text searching) can be found in our online newspaper databases, specifically, in our database Australia & New Zealand Newsstream.
Only article content is available to be searched and viewed, not other content such as obituaries etc. Images are also not available.
Below we’ve provided links to search inside each paper or drill down to find articles in a particular issue:
See also our tip above about using the full text databases in combination with INNZ:
Because Index New Zealand is just an index, it can sometimes return less scattered, more focused results than full-text searching. You can then locate the article itself in the full-text database.
PressReader in our libraries
If you’re more interested in the recent past, PressReader gives access to the last 3 months of The Dominion Post (and many other New Zealand and international publications). The entire paper is available in a replica digital form, and can be browsed by date or searched by publication.
More about historical NZ papers
For background on the history of newspapers more broadly in New Zealand:
To browse other early papers in Wellington: