For the first time in nearly 15 years, the Wairarapa Times-Age will once again be printed in Masterton when Webstar takes over the job on October 1.
Publisher Andrew Denholm was delighted to announce the new six-year contract yesterday.
“My relationship with Webstar goes back a long way.
“I worked there as a university student [when it was Government Print] and my brother did his apprenticeship there.”
Webstar, which already prints Wairarapa Property, will take over the printing contract from Beacon Print in Hastings, which has printed the Times-Age for five years.
The deal means that community weekly Midweek will also once again be printed locally.
The news comes just a week after Stuff announced the sale or closure of a string of community newspapers around the country.
“How many community papers in New Zealand are printed in the region where they’re published? None.
“This is great news for the Times-Age and for Masterton,” Mr Denholm said.
Webstar chief executive Bernie Roberts travelled from Auckland for the announcement saying, “It’s a big deal for us”.
“It’s great that we are printing the Wairarapa newspaper in the Wairarapa,” he said.
Printing phone books has been a big part of Webstar’s business but that work is facing a downturn.
“This gives us a new business stream,” Mr Roberts said
“The really cool thing is that we have two Wairarapa businesses working together to keep people employed.”
Webstar operations manager Trevor Howard said the company had made a considerable investment in equipment ahead of the contract.
“This investment gives us the ability to produce newspapers.
“With the downscaling of the directory business, it allows us to upscale on the newspapers.
“We are keeping all the guys employed which is a good story for us.”
Mr Denholm returned the Times-Age to local ownership in June 2016 when he bought the paper from NZME, the publisher of the NZ Herald.
Times-Age editor Seamus Boyer was delighted to be able to share the news.
“It makes absolute sense for the Times-Age to be printed where it is read.
“This is what it means to be locally owned and operated. It’s fantastic news.”