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The Press goes to press

25 May 1861

Christchurch Press office, 1912
Christchurch Press office, 1912 (Te Papa, O.001609)

The first edition, published from a cottage in Montreal Street, Christchurch, was a six-page tabloid which sold for sixpence (equivalent to about $3.20 in 2020).

Founded by prominent early settler and politician James FitzGerald, the Press is the oldest surviving newspaper in the South Island. Its first edition stated that the publishers made ‘no apology for the publication’, which was set up in opposition to two established local newspapers. The people of Christchurch would decide,

if we shall be so fortunate as to command a remunerative circulation the result will justify our opinion. If not, failure will sufficiently punish our presumption. But whatever the issue to the proprietors, the public will be the gainers.

The Press building, constructed in 1909, was a prominent landmark in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square for more than a century. A staff member was killed when the building partially collapsed during the earthquake of 22 February 2011. It was demolished six months later.

How to cite this page

The Press goes to press, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated