The Wairarapa Times-Age newspaper is to become a locally-owned entity once again, with the announcement yesterday that general manager Andrew Denholm is buying the business.
Mr Denholm, as owner of National Media Ltd, has signed a conditional agreement to buy the Wairarapa Times-Age from NZME Publishing Ltd.
The agreement includes the Wairarapa Midweek and Wairarapa Property.
The Times-Age is presently one of six regional daily newspapers under the stable of NZME, which includes the New Zealand Herald in Auckland.
The purchase evokes a tradition of local ownership of the paper, which ceased 12 years ago when APN News and Media acquired the Times-Age.
It comes at a time when 90 per cent of newspapers in New Zealand are owned by Australian companies.
Mr Denholm, 42, has been the general manager of the Times-Age for five years.
He was born and raised in Wairarapa, attending East School, Hiona Intermediate (now Lakeview School) and Makora College (now Makoura).
He said it was a chance meeting more than a decade ago with publisher Barry Colman which led Mr Denholm into a love of publishing.
He is thrilled to take on ownership of the paper.
"It is a fantastic result for me personally but also for the Wairarapa community to have local ownership of these papers. While we will continue to improve the paper, it is very much business as usual.
"We will be supporting local businesses, bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the local economy."
Included in that is a commitment to local printer Webstar to print Wairarapa Property, a weekly real estate publication inserted into Midweek.
"Banking, IT, accounting, stationery and equipment services will be done locally."
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of June.
CEO of NZME, Michael Boggs, said returning the paper to local ownership is immensely pleasing. "Andrew is a great guy; he has been the general manager for the past five years and is well established in and respected by the local community. I know the Times-Age is in great hands."