The Northern Advocate is Northland's only regional daily newspaper, with a proud reputation for quality and innovation covering more than 130 years.

It began in 1875, when Englishman George Edwin Alderton established the district's first newspaper, the Whangarei Comet and Northern Advertiser, acting as reporter, compositor, publisher, printer and business manager.

Because of the small population of Whangarei it was thought that the paper "would go up like a comet, and come down like a stick", but within two years it had expanded to 12 pages and was being published weekly as the Northern Advocate and General Advertiser, with a small section printed in Maori.

As the title suggests, the Advocate was determined to be a voice for Northlanders. Its stated purpose was to redress "the real criminal injustice the northern settlements laboured under from the legislature of the colony".


It campaigned hard for better roads in the region, resulting in a famous parliamentary tour of the North in 1917 which saw MPs pushing, pulling and digging out their vehicles as they tried to make progress on the muddy tracks which were the bane of the locals.

It was the first business in Whangarei to use electric lights, and helped coin the phrase "The Winterless North" to reflect the region's subtropical climate.

Over the years it has actively sought out historical photos of Northland's pioneering days, and its library now contains a major photographic archive, including the reknown Drummond and Te Wake collections.

It was a leader in using full colour in production of the paper and pioneered early technology to produce same-day photos for a distant regional paper when the Commonwealth Games were held in Christchurch, New Zealand.

It has won Australasian awards as best paper for its circulation size, best front page, and its staff have won numerous awards for writing, photography and advertising work.

It was one of the early users of computer technology (cold type) in production in New Zealand.

The tradition continues, with its use today of a modern Cybergraphic computer system, extensive use of colour within the paper and the use of high-quality digital equipment by its photographers.

The Northern Advocate remains the dominant daily paper covering the area from Wellsford north, publishing six days a week with a circulation of 13,204.


Sixty-three percent of the population aged 15 and older in its circulation area will read at least one edition of the paper each week. In the last seven days, 67% of all people who personally own their own home in the Northern Advocate circulation area have read the Northern Advocate.

The Whangarei Report

The Report is the longest surviving community paper in the Whangarei district.

It was established 20 years ago and its circulation now stands at 28,858..

Its weekly free distribution each Thursday now covers households from south of the Brynderwyns, across to Dargaville and north to Oakura.

Readership of the full colour, tabloid-sized paper has been surveyed at close to 80% among people aged over 15 in the Whangarei district.

Editorially the publication concentrates on local issues, identities and features while also covering more general special interest areas like gardening, motoring and entertainment.

Contact us:
PO Box 210,
Phone: (09) 470 2829


Northland's mild subtropical climate has attracted settlement from the earliest days of human habitation, and the region can lay claim to the title of birthplace of nation.

Legendary Maori navigator Kupe sailed his great canoe Matahorua from Hawaiki to Aotearoa (New Zealand) in about 925AD and settled at Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe (Hokianga Harbour).

Maori settlement spread throughout the region, as the numerous pa sites testify.

The Bay of Islands with its sheltered anchorages was popular with early European whalers and sealers, and Kororareka (Russell) earned a reputation in the early 1800s as the Hellhole of the Pacific through the drinking and bawdy behaviour of the seamen.

On Christmas Day in 1814, on the northern shores of the Bay of Islands, Samuel Marsden preached the first Christian sermon in New Zealand.

The Treaty of Waitangi, between Maori and Europeans, was signed at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands in 1840 and the region is scattered with historic sites where early missionaries and settlers developed communities.

In the early 1850s, five ship-loads of Gaelic-speaking Highlanders settled at Waipu on the east coast to create their own slice of Scotland.

New Zealand's oldest stone building is at Kerikeri and the nation's first printing plant, Pompallier House in Russell, has been restored to its original condition.

Northland also has giant trees that were saplings at the time of Christ _ huge kauri in the Waipuoa forest are more than 2000 years old.

In more modern times, Northland is also the site of New Zealand's only oil refinery, at Marsden Pt, and parts for New Zealand's latest warships, the Anzac frigates, were built at Whangarei