Prior to delivering his lecture he called attention to a number of interesting exhibits of early New Zealand newspapers, including copies of the New Zealand Gazette (Wellington), the first newspaper ever printed in the colony, dated April, 1840; the curious old newspaper printed on blotting-paper; the ancient and famous Auckland paper printed on a mangle; and the early Bay of Islands papers, which were wretchedly printed. Dr. Hocken adverted to the fact that last year he had placed a paper before the Institute dealing with the Maori section of literature, but he would now deal with the purely English section of his subject as it struggled into life. Starting with the publication of the first newspaper, Dr. Hocken traced in an intensely interesting fashion the rise and fall of the multifarious newspaper ventures characteristic of pioneer times, the recital of which was enlivened with many personal reminiscences of men and things, and humorous incidents of the struggles and difficulties of this early day journalism. Taking the several newspapers, and dealing with them according to locality rather than date, the lecturer described the beginnings and endings of the first Wellington papers, which, after all sorts of vicissitudes, were incorporated with the present New Zealand Times. The Bay of Islands prints were then briefly alluded to, four of them having an average life of ten months each. The Auckland journals came next in order, and the historic newspapers that formed the connecting-link between ancient and modern journalism, finally culminating in the Auckland Herald, made matter for amusing and instructive description. The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle were the last under review.
The Chairman said that he trusted that Dr. Hocken's health would be so far renewed by his proposed trip that he would be enabled to complete the valuable work of which that evening's lecture was only one chapter. It would prove of untold value as a contribution to the history of the colony, and he knew of no one better fitted to undertake and carry through the task than Dr. Hocken. The amount of research involved was no inconsiderable item. In listening to the lecture he had been impressed with the surprising vitality and exuberance displayed by the writers in these early journalistic ventures, in which respect history certainly was repeating itself.
Mr. F. R. Chapman, in congratulating Dr. Hocken upon his paper, said that they were drawing near to the end of the time when it would be possible to obtain accurate information concerning the early history of the colony and of its provinces.