Wairarapa’s first newspaper the Wairarapa Mercury established by brothers Edward and Charles Grigg, was launched in Greytown. Richard Wakelin assisted editorially. It promised to advocate ‘the local interests of the Wairarapa, free from class predilections and party bias. Two fires eventually caused the Mercury to close.
After the second fire, Archibald Arnot, who had become sole owner, manager and editor, bought from Richard Wakelin, an Albion double demy machine that had printed the Wellington Journal and there was only a month’s break in publishing.
The Mercury continued until early August 1872, when Arnot was committed for trial for embezzlement. He sold the paper to a Mr Hirschberg who in turn sold to Richard Wakelin, who became sole proprietor and editor, of the re-named, twice weekly Wairarapa Standard on 19 August.
Wakelin’s Son-in-law Joseph Payton, a teacher, joined him, and together with printer, W.H. Smith, they established Masterton’s first newspaper – the Wairarapa News and Valley and East Coast Advertiser.
Messrs O’Meara and Bright establish the Wairarapa News.
The Newsletter, begun by John Rockel, eventually amalgamated with the Wairarapa News to form the tri-weekly Wairarapa Register. This paper ceased in 1878 after a major fire.
Joseph Payton was proprietor of the Wairarapa Free Press, an evening tri-weekly, which turned into the Wairarapa Daily – Wairarapa’s first daily newspaper.
The railway line reaches Masterton and makes newspaper distribution easier. Prior to this it was all done on horseback and with wagons
The Wairarapa Star was launched by Joseph Ivess but quickly run by J. Smith and Alexander Hogg who had previously edited the South Canterbury Times. He subsequently edited and part-owned the Star until 1892.
Richard Wakelin died, and his Wairarapa Standard is purchased by spiritualist,
W.C. Nation – also the initiator of NZ’s first Arbor Day in Greytown.
Samuel Revans died, as did the Wairarapa Register.
Joseph Payton renamed his newspaper the Wairarapa Daily Times. He kept plant and type up-to-date and gained a reputation for the quality and depth of its local coverage. This building was on Church Street where Radio House now stands.
The Wairarapa Star is renamed The Age becoming the Wairarapa Age after being purchased by Arthur Cecil Major and converted to a morning daily.
The Star’s first printing machine was an enormous non-stop drum, with one employee feeding in the paper at the top with another at the back taking off the printed sheets which were then folded by hand. The power was generated by a flywheel turned by two more people. Around 1903, an Elliott printing press was installed, initially driven by a gas engine, and later converted to electricity.
Joseph Payton dies, and his family form a private company, continuing to operate the paper.
The Wairarapa Age is sold to James Brown and after his death in 1913, his son E. James Brown ran the paper until 1921.
The Wairarapa Age Co. Ltd is formed with Guy Scholefield, major shareholder and editor of the Wairarapa Age until 1926. [In 2020, the Wairarapa Times-Age and Fraser Books published The Little Doctor, the autobiography of Dr Guy Scholefield.]
W. A. Michael edited the Age and then, following amalgamation, the Times-Age. E. James Brown managed the Age until amalgamation.
The Wairarapa Age merges with the Wairarapa Daily Times. The Wairarapa Times- Age becomes the region’s sole daily newspaper. An art deco-style building is purpose-built on the corner of Queen and Cole Streets to house the newspaper staff and printing presses. Its design was based on the original Miami Herald building in Florida. A brand new Cossar press was installed capable of printing 16 pages at one time.
A Carterton branch of the Times-Age is established.
The 1942 earthquake did no major damage to the new strongly-built Wairarapa Times-Age building.
Newspaper publication was 5,000 per day.
Hoe printing presses were introduced. There were two editions of the newspaper. Printing ran for 20 minutes at 1pm for the first edition for country readers. The main edition, with page three updated, ran at 3pm.
An extension to the building allowed for extra editorial staff, a photographer’s area and dark rooms and extended library.
The Times-Age Baby of the Year was launched. Baby Mervyn Waipuka was the first baby born in Wairarapa in 1963.
Two web off-set presses were installed in the printing area.
The Wairarapa Times-Age ownership was re-structured with Managing Director, Terry Kerse and advertising Manager, Gordon Kinvig becoming majority shareholders. The Board of Directors are local businessmen, with the Chair being Mick Sellar.
The weekly free community newspaper, Wairarapa Midweek, is launched by the Wairarapa Times-Age.
Wairarapa Times-Age celebrated 50 years. It was employing 160 staff and printing over 10,200 copies each day.
The Wairarapa Times-Age announces online access to its files via the Wairarapa Archive.
The Wairarapa Times-Age passed out of local ownership, purchased by the Wilson & Horton Group, which in turn sold on to Australian Provincial Newspapers [APN].
APN decommissioned the printing presses – newspapers would be printed in Wanganui. Redundancies of about 30 people included the seven strong press team, collators and wrappers.
The press units were sold and crated for shipment for the Samoa Observer.
APN acquires two real estate magazines owned by Wairarapa-born businessman, Andrew Denholm and appoints him as General Manager of the Wairarapa Times-Age.
The Wairarapa Times-Age moves from being an afternoon daily to a morning tabloid [or compact] newspaper.
Wairarapa Times-Age building is purchased by Masterton-based developer, David Borman. The solid reinforced concrete walls, beams and columns meant it was a relatively simple task to bring it up to 90 per cent of the earthquake code.
NZME [APN NZ operation renamed] sold the newspaper to National Media Limited, owned by Andrew Denholm. The Wairarapa Times-Age returns to private ownership.
Printing of the Wairarapa Times-Age returned to the region contracted to Webstar in Masterton.
Wairarapa Times-Age on average sells more than 5,000 papers daily. The free weekly Midweek newspaper is distributed to 22,050 households and businesses. There are 35 staff producing both the Wairarapa Times-Age and Wairarapa Midweek.