Samuel Revans prints first newspaper

18 April 1840

Samuel Revans, c. 1860 (Alexander Turnbull Library, 1/2-038720-F)

The first newspapers published in New Zealand rolled off Samuel Revans’ printing press a month after his arrival at Port Nicholson (Wellington).

Revans had published the first issue of the New Zealand Gazette in London in August 1839, just before the New Zealand Company’s emigrant ships departed. He was also secretary to the colonists’ council, and the news in the first New Zealand issue was semi-official.

Advertisements touted useful items such as ‘Manning’s portable colonial cottages’ and ‘pumps suitable for emigrants and foreigners, made in the simplest manner’. Lists of consignments also featured prominently, with spirits clearly in high demand.

‘All persons taking up their residence on the Beach’ – or leaving it – were asked to notify the Land Office. The settlement founded less than three months before was in the process of shifting to Wellington because of recurrent flooding at Petone (‘the Beach’).

The entrepreneurial Revans also ran a timber yard, a stationery business and later a farm. The Gazette went through several changes of name, each title less profitable than the last, before closing in 1844.

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