It's now hard to believe one company monopolised the Sunday newspaper scene for so long but, in October 2004, the scene changed.
As Liam Dann points out today, houses were about half the price but mortgage rates were double. The economy was booming and New Zealand was in the early days of a big surge in tourist numbers — off the back of the wildly popular Lord of the Rings films.
George W. Bush was in the White House and Kitty Kelley had published her scathing look at the Bush dynasty, just months out from the election. In New Zealand, Helen Clark was two-thirds of her way through her second term as prime minister. Scribe dominated the New Zealand Music Awards.
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The compact-sized Herald on Sunday, was first published on October 3, 2004 with Suzanne Chetwin as editor. Our other editors have been Shayne Currie, Bryce Johns, Miriyana Alexander and, currently, Stuart Dye.
The Herald on Sunday won Newspaper of the Year in 2007, just three years after inception, and again in 2009. In 2013, it was awarded best Sunday newspaper at the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (Panpa) Awards.
Often keen to push boundaries and challenge established thinking, it has formed its own culture within the media landscape. The paper is affectionately known as "The Hos" by staff, and past staff will always be known to each other as "Hossies". Staff sometimes joke about the paper's place in the family of newspapers published by NZME, with some describing it as the naughty stepchild or an uncontrollable teenager.
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There have been numerous highlights throughout its 15-year history. Many of the award-winning stories have been revisited this week, reminding us all of the great and ground-breaking journalism the newspaper has fostered.
It has embraced the duty of looking at our world and telling our stories with intensity and vigour but it has never before reviewed itself more closely than this week. That experience has been heartening and affirming.
Today, the Herald on Sunday is read by 317,000 readers – more than the other two Sunday papers combined. For that, and for your support through the last decade and a half, we thank you.