Joseph Parker

‘The Greatest Editor’

Joseph was born in Nelson in 1873, the son of Joseph, a carpenter and his wife Ann Boyes. Ann was widowed in 1875 and moved with her younger children to New Plymouth where Joseph junior attended high school and was a keen amateur boxer.

He started his journalistic career first at the ‘Taranaki Herald’ and ‘Taranaki Daily News’, followed by the Christchurch ‘Press’. He joined the sub-editorial staff of the ‘Evening Post’ in 1903. He became chief sub-editor in 1907 and then succeeded Mr Lukin as editor in 1916.

‘… he held that the editorship of a metropolitan newspaper demanded his whole attention, and that an editor could best serve the public by maintaining an independent position free from the ties to which personal association with public affairs might lead’ (Evening Post, 4 April 1942)

Joseph married Vera Myrtle MacDonald in 1907. She was the niece and adopted daughter of Frances Rossiter and her husband (Hon) Thomas Kennedy MacDonald. Their children were Erik, Joan and Frances.

In 1938, Joseph travelled with his wife and daughters for a nine month stay in Europe where he witnessed the Munich crisis. ‘… this impressed with him the dangers that the Empire must be prepared to face, and the trials which could only be met with the utmost efforts of all partners in the British Commonwealth of Nations. On his return to New Zealand he never failed to stress the urgency of this effort’.

He collapsed and died suddenly on 2 April 1942, after completing his work day. He had been editor of the ‘Evening Post’ for 26 years.

Prime Minister Peter Fraser and Chief Justice Sir Michael Myers, Consul-General for Poland Count K A Wodzicki and president of the Hebrew Congregation for Wellington Mr B Van Staveren were just a few of the dignitaries that attended his funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral. The members of the literary department of the ‘Evening Post’ were the pall bearers.

Joseph’s ashes are located in the columbarium behind the Small Chapel. There is no inscription on the plaque. Vera died in 1971 and her ashes were scattered in the rose garden.

Joseph Parker
Parker plaque without inscription, centre.