The Otago Daily Times (ODT) turns 150 today. Founded by Julius Vogel in 1861, the newspaper was the first daily newspaper in New Zealand and still proudly states today that it is independent and privately owned.
As an image researcher, I’ve been very lucky – Te Ara’s relationship with the ODT dates from 2003, and has enabled us to include many wonderful images in the encyclopedia from the Otago region. Currently we have 340 ODT images up on Te Ara, and more to come.
The first ones we received included such diverse images as the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, visiting Dunedin; an elderly Japanese rugby player; and traditional New Zealand dress as interpreted by a new citizen. Later, when we started working on the themes Earth, Sea and Sky and The Bush, one of the great joys was being able to include some of chief photographer Stephen Jaquiery’s bird photographs, such as this one of a silvereye, or this, of a New Zealand pipit.
As someone who grew up in Dunedin, the ODT was my newspaper, and researching it for work was like coming home, in a odd way. Interestingly, there were some things that other staff who had also grown up in Dunedin remembered. One of them was the sex workers’ advertisements in the Personal columns, letting prospective clients know which small towns they would be visiting in the upcoming week.
The ‘Regions’ section of the ODT is also a section I remember well, with its local news and rural focus – and some wonderful photographs of things I remember from my childhood, such as hoar frosts and bad rabbits. And the mutton pies at Palmerston … travelling for a different job, one of my colleagues would insist on stopping there to get a mutton pie and a cheese roll – signs we were back down south.
So thank you to the management for allowing us to reuse these images, to all the ODT photographers, who have taken such great photos, and thank you also to Glenda at the Star Shop for all her efficient assistance over the years – happy birthday to you from all of us at Te Ara!