Founded in Dunedin in 1893, the Triad emphasised music, literature and art. The acerbic wit of its colourful editor, Charles Baeyertz, saw the magazine gain a strong following. The issuing of free art and music supplements as well as readers’ competitions also increased circulation. In 1905 Frank Morton became a staff writer. His liberal views on sex and other issues stirred up debate and increased sales.
For some rural New Zealanders the Triad was a cultural lifeline. In 1909 Jane Mander wrote: ‘What have I ever done to the Triad but seize it from the post, and, deserting all else, rejoice in it alone? Why, the only thing that keeps me from preaching temperance … or marrying a Sunday School teacher in this brain-benumbing, stimulus-stifling, sense stultifying, soul-searing silence is the invasion of the Triad.’1
Contributing writers included Alfred Grace, Godfrey Turner and Alice Kenny. But its negative 1910s reviews of modernist poets and painters like Ezra Pound and Frances Hodgkins suggested it was anti-modern. In 1915 the editorial office moved to Sydney. By 1920 the Triad boasted a trans-Tasman readership of 100,000. But when singer Philip Newbury successfully sued it for libel – a review had referred to ‘‘the peculiar trussed turkey quality of his squawk’2 – the awarding of £500 damages was crippling. Declining circulation thereafter led to the magazine’s closure in 1926.
The New Zealand Illustrated Magazine
The monthly New Zealand Illustrated Magazine was founded in Auckland in 1899 with a desire to foster New Zealand literature and art. It featured the work of leading writers and poets, including Jessie Mackay, James Cowan, G. B. Lancaster and Dora Wilcox. Among the artists were Frances Hodgkins and Trevor Lloyd. The magazine also covered current events, music, sport and Māori traditions. It received strong support from the intelligentsia but, in ceasing publication in 1905, it conceded that the wider public preferred its overseas equivalents.
Art in New Zealand
Beginning in 1928 under the conservative editorship of Charles Marris, Art in New Zealand was a high-quality arts quarterly that also covered literature, publishing work from emerging writers and poets like Robin Hyde and Allen Curnow. In the early 1940s it pursued a more radical direction under Howard Wadman and Eric Lee-Johnson, a move that saw the journal lose support and then close in 1946.