The New Zealand Herald's print and digital readership continues its big upward trajectory - and the Herald on Sunday remains the best-read Sunday newspaper in the country.

The Herald has seen strong year-on-year growth compared to all main metropolitan papers, up 14,000 print readers to 425,000, according to Nielsen data released today. Its weekly print readership has increased by 17,000 readers from the previous quarter, resulting in a current weekly readership audience of 785,000.

The Herald daily brand audience across print and online readership is up 20.2 per cent year on year to 965,000. The weekly brand audience has also increased by 13.0 per cent, reaching a total of 1,517,000 people.

The nzherald.co.nz audience has increased 17 per cent from last year, with the site now reaching 1.99 million New Zealanders each month. Capitalising on this upward trend, the Herald team have just re-launched the nzherald.co.nz site to better serve its readers. Reflecting how its audience is engaging with news, sport and entertainment, the site is mobile responsive with an intuitive layout.

NZME's weekend newspapers, combined, gained 18,000 readers across both Saturday and Sunday when compared to the previous release with the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday increasing audience. The Weekend Herald has also delivered a significant year on year increase, gaining 33,000 readers to now reach 475,000 Kiwis every Saturday.

The Herald on Sunday remains the most-read Sunday newspaper in New Zealand, with readership having grown to 335,000, up 15,000 from the previous quarter, and an increase of 24,000 from the previous year, and it remains the highest-selling Sunday paper, with a weekly circulation of 86,440.

NZ Herald Focus is going from strength to strength. On an average week, Focus receives more than 800,000 views across all platforms, and can reach up to 1.8 million weekly views during the event of breaking news.

NZME managing editor Shayne Currie says the increases are a result of a hardworking team of talented journalists - reinforced by their success at the Canon Media Awards last month.

"These results are off the back of a number of huge wins at the Canons, including Website of the Year (nzherald.co.nz), Newspaper of the Year and Best Weekly Newspaper (The Weekend Herald), and Best Daily Newspaper over 30,000 circulation (The New Zealand Herald) among others. This shows our journalism is resonating with the New Zealand public. I'm incredibly proud of our teams in Auckland and elsewhere in New Zealand.

"We are even more excited to be laying the foundations for even stronger audience growth in the coming year with the new-look nzherald.co.nz - the site has been developed with our audience front and centre of our minds."

Herald on Sunday and Weekend Herald editor Miriyana Alexander said: "We're thrilled to not only remain New Zealand's most-read and best-selling Sunday paper, but also to continue our strong readership growth. We have an outstanding team in our newsroom producing first-class journalism, and I'm delighted our story-telling is resonating with readers."

It was also a strong result for the Herald's Travel and Business sections. Travel gained 7000 readers to reach an audience of 261,000 since last quarter, with Business seeing a 4000 increase to 251,000 readers since last quarter.

NZME regional titles have also achieved readership growth. The Northern Advocate has seen a third consecutive growth period, gaining 5000 readers to reach a total audience of 32,000, and the Bay of Plenty Times grew its audience to 32,000, up 2000 readers from the previous quarter.

NZME chief commercial officer Laura Maxwell says the increased readership across various NZ Herald platforms shows that even in a highly competitive and converged media environment the team is delivering content that resonates with audiences regardless of how they access their news.

"The Herald audience is not only growing, but changing how they engage with news. Whether they are catching up with a local paper during morning tea, relaxing with the Herald on Sunday or reading the new nzherald.co.nz site on the train to work, we are delivering news to Kiwis when they want it, how they want it. As a result, we are offering advertisers a variety of platforms to reach our audience in the most effective way for their business."