Stuff Group expands Waikato masthead in community news review

The Waikato Local Te Pūtahi community newspaper.

Stuff Group has today announced the launch of an expanded Waikato local newspaper to be delivered across the fast-growing region, with a sizeable increase in distribution footprint from its predecessor the Hamilton Press

The Waikato Local Te Pūtahi community newspaper will absorb smaller titles the Piako Post, Matamata Chronicle, South Waikato News and the Hamilton Press, and will be delivered into homes and areas of high foot traffic across the wider Waikato region, including new distribution areas in Te Aroha and Tirau.

With a strong focus on locally relevant news and a celebration of the region, it will feature local people, businesses and community news complementing the daily Waikato Times masthead, which is renowned for hard-hitting must-read journalism with impact, advocating for the Waikato region and its people.

Since the launch of the Waikato Times digital masthead in March 2023, the title’s reach has more than doubled with new subscribers choosing either a digital-only daily read, or a print and digital bundle. The Waikato Local free community title will build on that reach, ensuring Stuff continues to have the biggest print and digital footprint of any media company in the Waikato.

Managing Director Masthead Publishing Joanna Norris says the consolidation of some titles into a region-wide community newspaper is part of Stuff Group’s review of its large number of community newspapers across the motu. Since the beginning of the year it has consolidated some titles, launched others and merged newspapers where the Stuff footprint was overlapping or unwieldy.

“As a business we have been publishing community newspapers for more than a century and over that time have acquired a large number of community titles resulting in a network that does not always fit local business and community needs,” she says. “The way people consume local news is also changing, as we have seen with the hugely successful launch of our digital subscriptions for The Post, The Press, The Waikato Times and our regional daily newspapers.”

Included on the masthead is the The Waikato Local’s te reo name, Te Pūtahi, which broadly translates as intersection, centre or meeting place of ideas, a fitting name for a publication that brings communities together, Norris said. Its distribution footprint includes large regional and rural hubs such as Morrinsville, Matamata, Putararu, Wharahoa, Te Aroha and Tirau.

Stuff Brand Connections Managing Director Matt Headland says while readers can expect excellent local coverage in their area, advertisers will have a bumper bundled offering through the daily Waikato Times and the weekly The Waikato Local.

“Hamilton is the fastest growing city in New Zealand and its regional areas including Matamata, Te Aroha and Morrinsville drive very strong rural and real estate audiences,” he says. “Having a free newspaper delivered into homes and stores, combined with the growing digital subscriber numbers of the Waikato Times, will provide unrivalled reach and prominence.”

Stuff also publishes the Franklin County News and Cambridge Edition in the region and national title NZFarmer, the country’s largest rural masthead.

The first issue of The Waikato Local Te Pūtahi will be published on July 3.

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