125th anniversary of Suffrage in New Zealand

First issue of New Zealand Woman's Weekly

8 December 1932

The cover of the first issue of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly
The cover of the first issue of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly (Te Ara)

On 8 December 1932, 7000 copies of the first issue of the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly went on sale. The magazine hoped to offer ‘usefulness, cheerfulness and happiness’ to readers during the depths of the Depression. The Woman’s Weekly Publishing Company, owned by Otto Williams (editor of The Mirror) and Audrey Argall (a freelance writer who also ran a nursing home) was based in the Mutual Life building in Queen St, Auckland. The articles were written by Argall (the editor) and various friends of hers.

The first issue boasted a purple and white cover and had many elements that would become staples of the publication: advice on cooking and housework, romantic short stories, knitting patterns and feature articles. But, despite an encouraging start, the Woman’s Weekly Publishing Company ran out of money after only three months.

Veteran Auckland city councillor Ellen Melville saved the magazine. She sold it after a few months to solicitor Vernon Dyson, who owned it for a year before also selling it. Dyson installed his wife Hedda, an experienced Dutch journalist, as editor, a position she retained until 1948.

The New Zealand Woman’s Weekly continues to be one of New Zealand’s most popular magazines despite its then German owner, Bauer Media (now Are Media),  stopping publishing its New Zealand titles for several months in 2020.

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2 comments have been posted about First issue of New Zealand Woman's Weekly

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Nola Cooze (Anonymous)

Posted: 22 Sep 2022

I have just turned 94 and my memory goes back a long way to when my late brother and I delivered the N Z Womans Weekly to nearby homes in Kilbirnie around 1939-40 when we were 11 and 12. two of the homes in particular I remember vividly. One was just past the tram barns in Onepu Rd where a lovely lady, Mrs KcKay lived and she used to give me an apple. The other place was at the shops end of Seatoun Rd (Later renamed Rongotai Road.) The house was typical of many in the area, just one room and a hallway wide, and only a pathway between the neighbour's house.. This pathway had a high gate as the owners had a pet magpie, and I was petrified of it so I just used to throw the Weekly over the gate. I often wonder how the customers paid for their magazine as I don't recall us having to deal with money. I also don.t remember how much we were paid for the deliveries but it wouldn't have been very much as the magazine itself was only 3d..
The NZ Womans Weekly has been my favourite all my life and I wish it many more years to come. Congratulations to all involved Regards Nola Cooze (nee Clarke

Sitara Morgenster

Posted: 05 Feb 2021