The Sun rises and sets and is now online

April 2021 sees the arrival of another Auckland daily newspaper in the online research community. The Sun (Auckland) provides new insights into Auckland almost one hundred years ago. The newspaper ran from March 1927 to September 1930. It promised something fresh with a team of journalists and a commanding presence on the corner of Albert and Wyndham Streets. 

Image: James D Richardson. Wyndham street, 1928. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 4-1783.

James D Richardson took this photograph of the view up Wyndham Street in January 1928. You can see the Sun building at the top, designed by Chilwell and Trevithick in the ‘industrial gothic’ style. 

The Sun (Auckland) was added to Papers Past in collaboration with Auckland Libraries where we hold the bound volumes and microfilm. Online access makes for a glimpse into reporting in Auckland that differs from the New Zealand Herald or the Auckland Star. The Gisborne Times was quoted as suggesting that, “…the advent of the new company brings a breeze to the newspaper world of Auckland …” (Gisborne Times, 24 March 1927:4)

Comparing some of the stories against the two existing dailies it is clear that the team of journalists led by editor Percy Crisp (1892-1955) and founding journalist Edward C. Huie (1876-1967) meant business. Huie based his newspaper on London’s Daily Mail. Note the look of the front page full of editorial content, not classifieds as per the other dailies. Headlines show a focus on the local and a high level of sports reporting.

Image: Front page of the Sun. Vol. 1, no. 103, 22 July 1927.

I searched this issue (22 July 1927) for the author Jean Devanny, whose novel The Butcher Shop, published in 1926, was the first NZ book to be banned and attracted this scathing review. There is little mention of her writing in the Herald or Star but the Sun offers more detail in a commissioned piece by ‘RJB’:

Image: Abridged section of the OCR text option for this article in Papers Past. Sun (Auckland), Volume 1, Issue 115, 5 August 1927, Page 14.

I sampled some of the ubiquitous Queen Street congestion topics and found the Sun adding value and detail. See the “shock and horror” of Queen Street shop keepers in some detail below:

Image: Abridged section of the OCR text option for this article in Papers Past. Sun (Auckland), Volume IV, Issue 994, 10 June 1930, Page 1.

The photographs add insights into the development of the inner city as well. Here is Vulcan Lane on 26 January 1929 in an article about widening the access route.

Image: Sun (Auckland), Volume II, Issue 572, 26 January 1929, Page 19.

More details on the Sun in the context of the original Christchurch Sun and the editorial team are featured in the excellent essay on Papers Past, and in Edward Huie’s farewell leader, ‘A Last Word’ on 20 September 1930, page 8. His last line was: “May it continue to shine on from a star which has now become one of the first magnitude”. 

This refers to the Auckland Star which incorporated the title and bought the buildings, plant, copyright, and the goodwill of the Sun for around 62,000 pounds. Researching Auckland during the period between 1927 and 1930 is now greatly enhanced thanks to the search functionality of Papers Past. Note the three recent titles added in April 2021 with grateful thanks to the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga.

Feilding Star (1930-April 1934)
Star (Christchurch) (1921-June 1935)
Sun (Auckland) (March 1927-September 1930)

Author: Jane Wild, Documentary Heritage, Auckland Libraries.