Taranaki Punch

<em>Taranaki Punch</em>

The cover of the first issue of Taranaki Punch, published on 31 October 1860 during the first Taranaki War. Only 16 issues were printed before the magazine folded.

The original Punch was a weekly British satirical magazine first published in 1841. The name and masthead were taken from the the anarchic glove puppet, Mr Punch (of Punch and Judy). The British Punch was noted for its 'sophisticated humour and absence of offensive material' in comparison with other satirical publications of the time. Its reputation was enhanced when The Times began using small pieces from Punch as column fillers.

The Punch brand was adopted by other satirical publications around the world. Taranaki Punch, published by the editor of the Taranaki Herald, courted controversy during its brief life. The qualities of the original Punch were not shared by its Taranaki counterpart. The war provided rich material and many opportunities to indulge in racist commentaries that would be considered offensive today. The nursery rhyme below, which mocks the Imperial forces for being fooled into attacking empty Māori pā, is a classic example, with its use of the racist epithet 'nigger'.

Nursery rhyme

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