The New Zealand Tablet
Originally aimed at the influx of Irish immigrants to the new country, the paper was founded by the first Bishop of Dunedin, Patrick Moran. Noted as a strong-minded and literate speaker, the paper gave Moran the opportunity to voice his views on religion, the church, and politics - especially the latter. Moran was noted for his opposition to the secularisation of education (a policy of the New Zealand government), and strongly vocal on the issue of Irish nationalism, and used the paper as a pulpit from which to write on both subjects.
Moran died in 1895, and during the ten years which followed - under the editorship of Henry Cleary - the paper adopted a more gentle approach to politics. James Kelly, editor from 1917 to 1931, adopted a line closer to Moran's — so much so that Cleary founded an opposition Catholic journal, The Month, in 1918. Kelly's editorship raised hackles with its pro-Irish republican leanings, especially in the years around and immediately after World War I. Eventually, Kelly was forced to resign from the paper's editorship at the beginning of the 1930s.
The Tablet remained an important means of communication within the New Zealand Catholic community, but after Kelly's time maintained a less outspoken approach. Despite this, it remained a political force, especially under the editorship of John Patrick Kennedy from 1967 to 1989. Kennedy was an astute political analyst and lively writer, and upon his death the Tablet struggled to maintain the level of support it had during his editorship. The New Zealand Tablet ceased publication in April 1996.
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