Newspapers have had a long history in Hawke's Bay, dating back to the first edition of the Hawke's Bay Herald and Ahuriri Advocate in Napier on September 24, 1857.

The Daily Telegraph first published in Napier on February 1, 1871, as a new operation, prompting the Herald to go from bi-weekly to daily.

The pioneer Hastings paper was the Hastings Evening Star and Advertiser first published in 1886, but it lasted just two years.

The Hastings Standard was launched in 1896. and disappeared with the arrival of the first publication of the Tribune on December 12, 1910.

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It was eight months later that the Tribune was established in a new two-storey brick building on the corner of Karamu Rd and Queen St, starting more than a century of newspaper publishing on the site.

There had been numerous other newspapers of varying frequency in the Hawke's Bay market, among the earliest also being Maori publication Te Waka Maori o Ahuriri, which published 136 times from 1863 to 1871.

The Hawke's Bay earthquake of February 3, 1931, resulted in quite some upheaval, and while the Daily Telegraph and the Tribune were able to start publishing daily news sheets almost immediately, the Herald in Napier struggled.

The Daily Telegraph building in Napier, rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake.
The Daily Telegraph building in Napier, rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake.

It came under joint ownership with the Tribune as new company Hawke's Bay Newspapers Ltd in 1932.

It was another five years before the separate titles would disappear and the first edition of the Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune was published in 1937.

The Herald-Tribune building on the corner of Queen St and Karamu Rd. Its facade remains today, after most of the building has been demolished for development.
The Herald-Tribune building on the corner of Queen St and Karamu Rd. Its facade remains today, after most of the building has been demolished for development.

The Daily Telegraph and the Hawke's Bay Herald Tribune would remain in separate but primarily local ownership for 45 years, though with some joint interest such as shareholding with the Gisborne Herald in the bi-weekly Wairoa Star taken-up in 1978.

With both dailies having long gone established front-page news where classified advertising had once dominated, it was in 1987 that the Daily Telegraph went into a more modern era with a redesign including a new masthead and a New Zealand first for daily newspapers, the use of process colour.

The colour went live on July 4, 1979, with publication of colour photos of the France-Hawke's Bay rugby match played in Napier the previous day.

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The modern era started to take more shape with the two dailies coming under joint ownership of new public company Hawke's Bay News Ltd in 1982, but continuing the Napier-Hastings rivalry which survived a late-1983 proposal to print both papers on a single press in Hastings, a move successfully opposed by the people of Napier who feared the eventual loss of the paper altogether.

The original home of Hawke's Bay Today in 1999, at the old Herald Tribune premises.
The original home of Hawke's Bay Today in 1999, at the old Herald Tribune premises.

The outside influence arrived in 1984 when Hawke's Bay Newspapers was sold to New Zealand News Ltd, primarily controlled by that stage by the investor empire of Ron Brierley and owners of the Auckland Star, Auckland's evening daily for 121 years before being closed in 1991.

A full Brierley buyout of New Zealand News led quickly to a dismemberment which resulted in Hawke's Bay News in 1988 becoming a part of Wilson and Horton, publishers of biggest New Zealand daily the New Zealand Herald.

The ownership went global in 1996 when Wilson and Horton was sold to Dublin-based Independent News and Media Group, the empire of former Ireland and British Lions rugby star Tony O'Reilly, who also had interests in Hawke's Bay in the ownership of food processors Heinz Wattie's.

In 1998 O'Reilly vested control of the New Zealand operation in Australian company APN News and Media and it was within that regime that the merger took place, with the headquarters and new press hall in Hastings and a branch office in Napier.

The first Hawke's Bay Today edition ... 20 years ago today.
The first Hawke's Bay Today edition ... 20 years ago today.

Multiple changes came in 2012-2014, including the two most visible to the reader. It was on March 19, 2012, that Hawke's Bay Today became a morning newspaper, and February 25, 2013, that production moved from a broadsheet newspaper to a compact format, known popularly as tabloid.

On September 2, 2013, the paper began published out of new editorial and advertising headquarters, following a move from the company-owned Karamu Rd site to new rented offices on the former Hawke's Bay Electric Power Board site on the corner of Warren and Heretaunga Sts in Hastings, and from the start of October that year printing was contracted out to Beacon Print on a new press, bringing to an end 103 of newspaper operation at the former Herald-Tribune site.

The new printing arrangement came to an end in October last year, with the paper now printed at NZME print in Ellerslie, Auckland.

Since 2014 Hawke's Bay Today has been part of New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), the formal merger of the New Zealand division of APN and The Radio Network, part of the Australian Radio Network.

Now long-since also incorporating former daily the Dannevirke News and weekly the CHB Mail (an earlier merger of the once five-days-a-week Central Hawke's Bay Press and weekly the Waipawa Mail), Hawke's Bay Today is now part of an operation of 32 newspapers, eight radio networks and several websites in 25 markets across the country.

Hawke's Bay Today and other NZME staff in the region are now based mainly in the Hastings headquarters and in long-standing radio station premises on the corner of Dickens and Dalton Sts in Napier, with offices in Waipukurau and Dannevirke.