The Oamaru Mail

The Oamaru Mail is a weekly community newspaper published each Friday in Oamaru, New Zealand, by the Dunedinbased media company Allied Press Ltd that serves the North Otago area.[1] The motto of the paper is "Your community, Your News".[citation needed]

Oamaru Mail
Your community, Your News
TypeWeekly Newspaper
Owner(s)Allied Press
EditorRebecca Ryan
HeadquartersOamaru, New Zealand
WebsiteOamaru Mail


George Jones

The Oamaru Mail was first launched in April 1876 as the Evening Mail. The newspaper struggled financially for a few months with its shareholders considering winding up the company. In 1877, the newspaperman George Jones bought up the Evening Mail. Under Jones' ownership, the Evening Mail covered railway construction and land ownership.[2]

In 1877, the Evening Mail was caught up in a criminal libel trial after Jones published an article accusing the Attorney-General Frederick Whitaker of promoting a Native Land Bill to assist in the acquisition of 2000,000 acres of confiscated Māori land for himself and his friends. Jones was acquitted during that trial, which boosted the Evening Mail's fortunes and public image. The New Zealand media hailed the outcome of the case as a victory for press freedom.[3]

Boosted by a rise in advertising and circulation, the Evening Mail revamped itself as the Oamaru Mail in March 1879. The newspaper became part of a syndicate of evening newspapers that received cable news service from the Dunedinbased Evening Star. Jones became a successful politician and his family maintained control of the Mail and the Invercargillbased Southland News. Following Jones' death in 1920, his son E.A. Jones became the governing director of both the Oamaru Mail and the Southland News; the latter of which had been acquired by Southland News Ltd. The two companies were run in tandem with each other.[4]

Recent history

For the next 140 years, the Oamaru Mail served the North Otago area.[5] In July 2015, the newspaper was acquired by the Dunedinbased media company Allied Press.[6] In mid-August 2015, Allied Press' editor in chief of community newspapers Barry Stewart confirmed that the paper would be undergoing a restructuring process.[5] On 24 August 2015, Allied Press owner Sir Julian Smith announced that Oamaru Mail would shift from a five-day publication to a weekly publication, which would be launched in September 2015.[7]

Operations and circulation

It has a readership of about 13,500. Its circulation area stretches from Waimate in the north down through Oamaru to Palmerston (about 45 minutes out of Oamaru) and to Otematata in the West. The paper is printed in Dunedin, New Zealand.[citation needed]

Management and staff

The current editor of the Oamaru Mail is Rebecca Ryan.[8] Her predecessor was Hayden Meikel, who served between 2015 and 2018.[citation needed]

Reporters include Kayla Hodge, Ruby Heyward and Ashley Smyth. The newspaper's sales manager is Mark Julius with other advertising consultants including Steve Wicks and Sue Fraser.[8]


  1. "The Oamaru Mail". Allied Press. Archived from the original on 17 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  2. Grant 2018, p. 363-364.
  3. Grant 2018, p. 364-365.
  4. Grant 2018, p. 364-365, 586.
  5. "Oamaru Mail faces restructuring, but not to close". Radio New Zealand. 17 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  6. "Future of South Island newspaper still uncertain". Radio New Zealand. 21 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  7. "Oamaru Mail now a free weekly". Radio New Zealand. 24 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  8. "Contact Us". Oamaru Mail. Archived from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.

Further reading