‘Kōtare’ is the Māori name for a kingfisher, a bird whose gift for ruminative stillness precedes its quick diving to the depths. It seemed not a bad title for this new journal, and the kind of scholarship it hopes both to promote and to draw on: the noting of changes, large or small, in our cultural currents; the retrieval of what we thought was lost, or was long concealed; and our hopes for more than the occasional flash of interest for our readers.
Kōtare quite deliberately draws on the example of Notes and Queries, the English periodical which, for well over a century, has printed brief articles and notes on language and literature, on history and society, together with readers’ queries, and reviews of works on related topics. Similarly, Kōtare will include short factual notes, reports and comments on archival and manuscript material, hitherto unavailable or rediscovered texts, bibliographical and lexicographical observations, and reviews of relevant publications. The publisher welcomes queries in such areas and the correspondence they may generate.
Kōtare began publication, in print form, in 1998 as a bi-annual journal. Its establishment was assisted in part by a grant from the University's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and also by a generous benefaction from Jack Ilott through the John Ilott Charitable Trust.
Kōtare began publication in electronic format in 2004.