by PETER OWENS
The Tablet (the southern New Zealand version) is no more. The last issue has been published, and this ends a long and distinguished history of outlets with that name in this country, from the foundation of the original one by Bishop Patrick Moran of Dunedin in 1873.
Based in Dunedin, up until it ceased publication as a journal in 1996, it was known as The NZ Tablet. Thereafter, the Tablet served as newsletter for the Dunedin diocese, until in December, 2020, Bishop Michael Dooley announced it would cease publication in March this year.
“During this year in the diocese, we have continued to investigate being more financially sustainable, while maintaining effective pastoral outreach to people. One of the issues raised in the area of communications has been the future of this publication, the Tablet,” he stated.
The bishop went on to say “The Tablet has performed an important role for many years in providing news and information to parishes and schools. Unfortunately, factors such as the availability of new, low-cost methods of communication, such as email and Facebook, and the relatively high cost of printing and courier delivery, has forced us to look at changes”.
The introduction of a smaller digital diocesan newsletter provides a continued communication channel to the parishes and schools.
“We are aware that not all people have access to the Internet, so will ensure there are printed copies of the diocesan newsletter available in parishes,” Bishop Dooley said.
“After consultation with the Priests Council, Diocesan Pastoral Council and Diocesan Finance Committee, I have made the decision that there will be one more edition of the Tablet in March next year, and then publication will cease.”
In concluding his announcement of the closure, Bishop Dooley said “I want to thank the present editor, Tony Hanning, for his great contribution, and to thank our advertisers who have been very loyal in supporting us over the years. It is difficult to cease a publication that has been part of our lives in the diocese for a long time, but I hope we will go on to develop further forms of communication in a financially sustainable way, and, most importantly, to the glory of God.”
So, with the publication in March of issue 247, the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin’s Tablet was no more.