The New Zealand Herald's journalism is resonating more strongly than ever, with record numbers of Kiwis turning to its newspapers and digital content for trusted news, sport and entertainment content.
The latest Nielsen insights into New Zealanders' readership habits show 2.24 million Kiwis – 54 per cent of the country – read the Herald each week across print and digital.
Nielsen's data shows the Herald's daily newspaper readership has continued its 15 months of growth - it's now at 654,000 readers each day, up 42,000 readers on the last readership release and up 48 per cent on a year ago.
The Weekend Herald increased its print readership by 71,000 to 791,000 – a 19-year high - and the Herald on Sunday added 41,000 readers to reach 403,000.
It's the first time in its 17-year history that the Herald on Sunday has amassed more than 400,000 readers.
"Covid-19 is the biggest news story in the lifetime of so many - and it's heartening to see so many New Zealanders turning to the Herald as a trusted news source," New Zealand Herald editor Murray Kirkness said.
"Seeking out locally sourced news and analysis continues to be a critical part of New Zealanders' lives and we are pleased that so many Kiwis trust the Herald to deliver."
The insights come after the Herald's recent Voyager Media Awards triumphs. The Herald snared the extraordinary "digital double", winning the supreme Website of the Year and News App of the Year accolades for an unprecedented second straight year.
Earlier this month, NZME - publisher of the Herald - won three major global media gongs, one of only three media companies in the world to collect three or more first-place trophies at the International News Media Association (INMA) awards, hosted virtually from the United States.
This month nzherald.co.nz celebrated its 10th consecutive month as New Zealand's number one digital news website, with a unique audience of 1.751 million - up 12,000 on the April number.
NZ Herald Premium continues to grow its digital subscription base of New Zealanders looking for more in-depth and exclusive coverage, insights and commentary. More than 110,000 Kiwis now access Premium content.
Readership growth also continues across NZME's regional newspapers, with the Rotorua Daily Post - this year's Voyager Media Award Regional Newspaper of the Year - and the Northern Advocate, Bay of Plenty Times, Hawke's Bay Today and the Whanganui Chronicle together now reaching 300,000 local readers each week.
"These newspapers play a vital role in the communities that they serve and it's pleasing to see our teams being rewarded by readership on the rise," Kirkness said.
The Herald's inserted magazines are also attracting new readers, with a growing number of Kiwis making time for lifestyle-focused content on culture, travel, food, health and entertainment.
Nearly 800,000 New Zealanders now read Travel, Canvas, TimeOut, Viva, Be Well and Spy each week.
Interest in travel is booming, with the combined audience of Travel and Sunday Travel now at more than half a million readers each week.
"NZME's recent Lifestyle Survey revealed that over half of New Zealanders are feeling positive about travel in the next 12 months, more than a third of us are exercising more, we're being more discerning with our spending and above all we're feeling pretty lucky," NZME's head of premium and magazines Miriyana Alexander said.
"That more Kiwis are reading our magazines means our wonderful editors, writers and designers are tapping into that part of Kiwis' lives where they are purposefully looking for a break from news and current affairs. They're taking time to focus on the all-important family, social and leisure time."
In addition to the sheer audience numbers, Nielsen's latest research and NZME's Lifestyle Survey also reveal the value of NZ Herald readers to commercial partners.
"When they're taking in a printed copy of a paper, readers are more absorbed in the content and less likely to be consuming other media. That makes our newspapers one of the least 'distracted' mediums," NZME CEO Michael Boggs said.
"We've found nearly 40 per cent of Kiwis read a newspaper when taking a break and if they've bought a paper nearly a third of our print audience keep their copy to share with friends and family, as reference or to collect it's even higher for our inserted magazines.
"That means our readers have more time to absorb our great editorial content and spend more time engaging with our valued commercial partners."