A fascinating insight

January 10, 2011
By

Truth: The Rise and Fall of the People’s Paper, by Redmer Yska (Craig Potton Publishing, RRP $49.99):

New Zealand Truth was a force to be reckoned with in its hey-day, breaking the juiciest of stories and keeping the dodgy and depraved quaking in their boots.

I suppose there is a whole generation of young Kiwis who aren’t aware New Zealand once had a stroppy wee tabloid newspaper, delivering a weekly dose of page three girls, scandal, politics (often both in the same story) and some of the best hard-nosed news exposes you could imagine.

Sadly, NZ Truth’s fortunes weren’t always steady and the paper that began back in 1905 and became the recorder of the country’s social upheavals of the 1960s eventually began to lose relevance and readership and shuffled off the newsstands in 2005.

During its 100-year reign, NZ Truth played an important part in New Zealand’s media history and was in a position of considerable influence within the country, claiming a readership of half a million by the mid-1950s.

Apart from all that, it was also a whole lot of fun. I remember my dad buying his weekly copy of the paper when I was a youngster and sneaking a peek at the thing with my siblings and friends, giggling like a bunch of naughty schoolkids (which I suppose we were) at the juicy scandals and occasional swear words its magical pages contained.

This book tells the background story to what happened to NZ Truth, of its own scandals and colourful history.

Written by a former staffer, it’s a fascinating insight into what was once New Zealand’s favourite newspaper.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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3 Responses to A fascinating insight

  1. Mel Wakeley on January 11, 2011 at 7:42 am

    This review brought back memories this morning. In the ‘olden’ days (not quite horse and cart) this paper was smuggled into our home by father or others who came to stay, no-one ever thought that my sister or I would know, however the size was a dead giveaway and I guess we were not that silly. I remember us hunting through looking for the Truth and all its sleazy stories and if we were very lucky we would find it in nicely torn pieces hanging on a piece of string in the toilet for loo paper….and they wondered why we were so long out there, I think that most people enjoyed the risque articles when you were lucky enough to find some pieces that matched. Thanks Jillian, you have made my day….

  2. Erica on January 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I just remember the front page screaming “Group sex on the Harbour bridge” and I was so titillated (literally and metaphorically) but the story didn’t quite live up to it.

  3. Rachael Goldsmith on January 11, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    What a great book – I will have to hunt a copy down!

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