King's College London
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Readership

While missionaries, magistrates and the Colonial Office may have also found the journal helpful the primary intended audience was the Maori themselves.

However, there were not nearly enough copies for all the Maori to be able to read it. In 1856 it is estimated that only 500 copies were produced with a Maori population of approximately 58,300. This was regarded as insufficient for those who wished to read it; in fact many Maori wrote to the Native Office requesting copies of the paper.

In 1855 most Maori were still living in tribes, but had converted to Christianity and a large number could read. The number of Maori who could read their own language was actually higher in proportion than that of the English settlers. The written Maori language was easy to learn for native speakers. Reports by missionaries stated that functional literacy could be achieved in a fortnight to six months.

There are various opinions as to what, within Te Karere Maori, was read and thought to be important by the Maori. The Board of Enquiry into Native Subjects in 1856 heard several different opinions on the matter given. Reports varied from the Maori reading just the parts about trade and prices to devouring every word on every page.

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