New Zealand

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(Were you looking for Roger Horrock’s fanzine KiwiFan?)

New Zealand, home to the Kiwifen, has held a New Zealand Natcon since 1979, but fandom existed there as early as the 1930s (and Aubrey MacDermott claimed a New Zealander belonged to the Golden Gate Scientific Association in 1930). The country received a big tourist boost in the 2000s from admirers of the Lord of the Rings films shot there, but we have no word on their impact on Kiwifandom.

Wellington, NZ, was to have hosted the nation’s first Worldcon, CoNZealand, in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic meant it had to be held online.

NASF was a New Zealand national club founded in 1976 yielding in the early 2000s to SFFANZ. It bestows the New Zealand Science Fiction Fan Awards. There are also the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. Other clubs: Auckland Science Fiction Club, Stella Nova Science Fiction and Fantasy Club, Phoenix Science Fiction Society, Christchurch Science Fiction Club, Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club, Auckland University Science Fiction Society, The SpecFicNZ Society and WASF.

Kiwi BNFs have included Roger Horrocks, Mike Hinge, Mervyn Barrett, Bruce Burn, Brian Thurogood, Frank Macskasy, Jnr., Greg Hills, Lyn McConchie, Tim Jones, Alex Heatley, Tom Cardy, Nigel Rowe, Rex Thompson, Simon Litten and Linnette Horne. Horrocks published the fanzine KiwiFan in the 1950s. Rowe pubbed Timeless Sands — a History of Science Fiction Fandom in New Zealand and The History of Science Fiction Fandom in ... New Zealand ....

New Zealand and Australia together are Australasia.


History of SF Fanzines in New Zealand[edit]

Early Beginnings[edit]

Science fiction readers in New Zealand had been active and writing letters to SF pulps overseas as far back as 1929, but it took a while for some of these fans to connect locally, and even longer for clubs or fanzines to appear. Established SF fandom in NZ started either in June 1931 with The Universal issue 6, or 1935 with the Science Fiction Bulletin. It’s almost impossible to date this more precisely, as few records exist of these nascent activities.

The Universal was a school boy type magazine, filling an entire school exercise book, with action-packed stories, jokes, an editorial and breathless prose about what was in store in future issues. Each single issue was actively shared and read amongst a core group of around 20 teenagers. After a dozen issues, The Arrow replaced The Universal and was published each month throughout 1932 and 1933.

The editor of the Universal and The Arrow was Cavell Nichol, and while they weren’t fanzines in the traditional sense, they had a core following, and featured some brilliant and very competent artwork. Twenty years later Cav contributed letters and other items to contemporary fifties fanzines and was also still successfully contributing children’s stories to local newspapers into the 1970s.

Until the Science Fiction Bulletin was published in February 1935, only 26 other fanzine titles had been published elsewhere (just in the USA.) In 1952, prominent UK fan Walt Willis recognized Science Fiction Bulletin as being the first fanzine to be published outside of the USA. A feat not matched in nearby Australia for at least another four years (1939.)

So by all practical measures NZ Fandom had its 85th anniversary in 2020.

Throughout those 85 years, a wide variety of SF fanzines have been produced, and a virtual display at CoNZealand in 2020 highlighted some of them, including examples of covers and artwork from The Universal and The Arrow.

Probably the most infamous NZ zine is a oneshot from November 1958, The Last Splotch. New Zealand’s first fannish couple, Toni Vondruska and Lynette Mills celebrated their wedding night in probably the most fannish way possible, they completed a page of their zine published to celebrate their wedding. As Lynette herself typed at 10:45pm This is slightly embarrassing, i mean look at the time please. We must be the most dedicated Fenn ever … (sic.)

While no surviving copies of the two mimeographed issues of the Science Fiction Bulletin have surfaced, at least one copy was sent overseas to England where it was received with wonderment by the editors of Novae Terrae, who were basking in the pride of having just published in early 1936 the first non-American fanzine!

Despite much promotion through published letters in both Amazing Stories and Wonder Stories in early 1935 and grand plans for creating a New Zealand Science Fiction Association, nothing eventually came of it. Other details of the two responsible editors, Noel Jenkin and Norman S. Patton have been elusive. An ad placed in the NZ Herald newspaper in early 1935 elicited interested persons they meant to advance science fiction and asked, CAN MAN FLY TO THE MOON?

Years later, the primary editor, Noel Jenkin was selected as one of the first NZ Fulbright scholars to the U.S, and subsequently had a successful academic publishing career as a psychologist. But sadly, he did not publish any more fanzines.


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