"Newspapers built national identity, they bolstered the self-confidence of new communities, and they helped settlers identify as New Zealanders as early as the 1870s..."


Lasting Impressions is the first comprehensive history of New Zealand newspapers

in 60 years – brimming with colourful extracts from newspapers and stories of remarkable personalities, it has nearly 250 photographs, many of which have never before been published. An essential reference for academics and librarians, and a highly readable social history.

The history of NZ newspapers by Fraser Books Publishing
Front cover of Lasting Impressions by Fraser Books Publishing

Colour with flaps | 692 pages

Nearly 250 illustrations; 120 'breakout' stories | Softcover

ISBN: 978-0-9941360-4-6 | 240mm x 170mm

"...a work of prodigious industry and research" –  Sir Geoffrey Palmer, former NZ Prime Minister


"...an astonishing resource for NZ historians. I'll keep dipping into it for pleasure and for historical profit …. and it will be especially prized by me"
–  Gordon McLauchlan


"Grant has dug deep and unearthed a wealth of detail about the early New Zealand press and the characters involved in it"
– Karl du Fresne, NZ Listener, 3 November


“As this book shows, in unprecedented detail, newspapers were founded in their hundreds and often lived, like butterflies, very short lives. They serve as an underviewed window into the lives, politics, commerce and daily lives of early New Zealand…. this is a compelling, often delightful read, and a truly magnificent addition to the scholarship of journalism here.”
– Dr James Hollings, New Zealand Review of Books, Winter 2019, pp. 10-11


“Grant has avoided a ‘dry as dust’ treatment and concentrated on bringing to life the details and impact of a profound communications and social revolution. His achievement will tower over everything that comes after it well into the second half of this century and it can only be hoped that the au­thor completes his anthology up to the present day—and causes every New Zealand academic and public library to set aside additional shelf space for the companion volume.”
– Steve Ellmers,
Pacific Journalism Review 25 (1&2)2019, pp. 307-08

NZ$69.50 + pp within NZ

NZ$90.00 inc pp overseas

Limited (100 numbered copies) case-bound edition. Only in New Zealand




Lasting Impressions reveals how our early newspapers covered the full gamut of colonial life: from the mundane to the momentous - like reporting from the frontlines of the New Zealand Wars - and everything in between.


"Newspapers back then were everything," says author Ian F. Grant. "Except for face-to-face conversations, leaflets and posters, they were the only medium of news and information for a community. As such, they were vital to economic development and social cohesion. Newspapers built national identity, they bolstered the self-confidence of new communities, and they helped settlers identify as New Zealanders as early as the 1870s."


Grant wanted to go beyond a record of when the newspapers started and who their owners and editors were, "to write a social history placing newspapers in the context of life in the communities they prospered or failed in." The book was launched by Sir Geoffrey Palmer at the National Library on 10 October.


For the first time in a New Zealand newspaper history there are sections on the burgeoning weeklies phenomenon, the distinctive goldfields' press, and the numerous Maori newspapers that flourished around the turn of the century.


"The history of Māori newspapers, which reflected high literacy levels, is fascinating in itself," says Grant. "There was simply nothing comparable to them in the US, Canada or Australia."


There are detailed descriptions of the beginnings of the newspaper business in New Zealand, documenting the papers that spread throughout the country close in the wake of the first settlers; the proliferation of provincial papers; and the difficulties faced by World War One newspapers. There are 120 fascinating 'break out' stories peppered throughout the book such as the arrival of women in the Press Gallery, vicious spats between rival editors, and early libel laws (and the lack of them).

NZ$80.00 + pp





The book has been a decade long labour of love for Grant, who carried out much of the research while the Alexander Turnbull Library's first adjunct scholar. He was able to capitalise on new technology – the Papers Past online archive of New Zealand print media launched in 2007 – not dreamt of when Dr Guy Scholefield published his Newspapers in New Zealand in 1958.


"Papers Past has revolutionised research and ensures that Lasting Impressions is as comprehensive a history of our newspapers as is possible," says Grant. The book is published in association with the Alexander Turnbull Library and Grant acknowledges that it is rare for the country's leading research library to be so closely associated with a book project. It will be a valuable reference book for academics and librarians as well as a highly readable social history.

Historic newspaper office in Horowhenua featured in Lasting Impressions - the story of New Zealand Newspapers by Fraser Books Publishing
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