A ‘Sense of Common Citizenship’? Mrs Potts of Reefton, New Zealand, Communicates with the Empire

  • Ross Harvey
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)


A ‘sense of common citizenship’, claimed Sir Sandford Fleming in 1906, would be an outcome of publishing ‘even small portions of … Empire news’ in newspapers throughout the Empire.1 In 1876 the final piece in the essential infrastructure of an imperial press system, the cable connecting New Zealand to the rest of the Empire, was in place. But what did this mean for newspaper readers in the more remote corners of the Empire? Were they too preoccupied with local commercial interests and with earning a living to pay much heed to news about parts of the world that they had left and were unlikely to return to? Certainly, one newspaper proprietor in Reefton, New Zealand, in the mid-1890s thought that it was worth persevering to preserve her membership of the United Press Association (UPA) and, through this, access to news from the Empire. Why? Was a sense of common citizenship sought, or can the decision be explained on other grounds?


Zealand News Mutual Interdependence Mining Town Cable News Essential Infrastructure 
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© Ross Harvey 2006

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  • Ross Harvey

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