First issue of Otago Daily Times published

15 November 1861

First edition of the Otago Daily Times (PapersPast)

Dunedin became the first New Zealand centre with a daily newspaper on publication of the first issue of the Otago Daily Times.

The English-born Julius Vogel (who later became premier of New Zealand) had been recognised as a talented journalist in Victoria before arriving in Dunedin, with Otago gripped by gold fever. Vogel soon formed a partnership with William Henry Cutten, editor of the weekly Otago Witness. Both men thought the soaring Otago population could support a daily newspaper, and the Otago Daily Times was born as a ‘symbol of the progress of Otago’.

Vogel became a key figure in a movement to separate the North and South Islands, and the ODT became a strong advocate for Otago Province. To this day, the newspaper provides comprehensive coverage of the region and advocates regional causes.

Cutten terminated his partnership with Vogel after three years, and in 1866 Vogel sold the ODT on condition he remained as editor. Vogel left the newspaper in 1868, by which time he had been elected to Parliament.

Since 1976 the ODT, still independently owned by Allied Press, has been Dunedin’s only daily newspaper.