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Stuff Group Purchases Wairarapa Times-Age

Stuff Group has today announced its purchase of the Wairarapa Times-Age masthead, including its digital news site and daily and community newspapers.

The Wairarapa Times-Age (WTA) joins Stuff’s portfolio of regional and local news products, which together form New Zealand’s largest regional news network.

Stuff Group Chief Executive Laura Maxwell says the purchase brings Stuff’s scale, support systems and broad commercial opportunities to the business while ensuring strong local journalism and a deep connection to the community remains.

“We are particularly pleased that owner Andrew Denholm will join Stuff in a new role, continuing to drive the success of the WTA locally.”

Created in 1938 by the merger of two local titles, the WTA was owned by NZME (then APN News & Media) before being bought into local ownership in 2016. Its digital news site, daily and weekly newspapers and weekly real estate publication have considerable local reach with its Midweek community title delivered to 20,000 homes. In 2022 it was named Regional Newspaper of the Year.

Stuff will retain local leadership, journalists and a commercial team in Masterton while bringing the title closer to its neighbouring Stuff local mastheads the Manawatu Standard and the Taranaki Daily News. Stuff’s premium masthead The Post delivers national business and political analysis from Wellington with a growing national digital subscriber base.

Stuff Managing Director Masthead Publishing Joanna Norris says WTA’s local, rural and real estate alignment are a natural fit in Stuff’s strong regional network.

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“Over the past year we have been reviewing our footprint across the country, launching new digital subscriptions for The Post, The Press, The Waikato Times and our regional mastheads and creating a more cohesive community network tightly aligned to local needs,” she says. “We love being able to support local journalism in Wairarapa with this acquisition and retain a strong commercial presence with the ability to deliver wider reach through our rural and real estate offerings.”

Denholm says Stuff’s scale and expertise in local markets was a compelling reason for the sale. “This has been a challenging time for a standalone publication. The way audiences are consuming local news is changing and Stuff’s scale and experience in delivering great journalism, in the formats that audiences want, is second to none. I’m delighted that Stuff has added the Wairarapa Times-Age to its regional footprint and am confident we are in very good hands.”

Stuff Brand Connections Managing Director Matt Headland says Stuff’s well known rural and regional brands, including NZ Farmer - New Zealand’s largest rural publication - and suite of Homed real estate publications, provides unbeatable reach and opportunity for advertisers.

“Adding the Wairarapa Times-Age to our regional, real estate and rural masthead portfolio strengthens Stuff’s leading position in the lower North Island,” he says. “Combine that with Stuff’s number one digital news audience on stuff.co.nz and you have a compelling commercial proposition for national and local commercial partners alike.”

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