The Taranaki Herald was the first newspaper published in Taranaki, with New Plymouth being the last of the early European settlements to get its own newspaper. The paper survived a number of controversies in its early years but the 1970s and 1980s were difficult times for evening newspapers and the Herald ceased publication in 1989.
The Herald was started by William Collins and Garland William Woon. The first issue was published on 4 August 1852. In 1867 the paper was sold to Henry Weston. He was the sole owner till 1920. Various members of the Weston family were associated with the paper for most of its existence.
The Herald, like other newspapers in New Zealand in the mid 19th century, was involved in various controversies. In 1854 William Crompton, the subeditor, resigned after opinions he expressed in the paper, including the denouncing of marriages between Māori and Pakeha, aroused hostile criticism. In the provincial elections in 1857 the Herald transferred its support from the incumbent Superintendent Charles Brown to his rival George Cutfield. Cutfield won the election and Brown responded by setting up the Taranaki News to compete with the Herald. The editor of the Taranaki News was the former editor of the Herald, Richard Pheney. Pheney had resigned over the Herald withdrawing their support for Brown.
In 1875 the Herald began publishing the Budget and Taranaki Weekly Herald. The Budget provided a synopsis of the news carried by the Herald each week and was intended mainly for rural readers who couldn't get the paper each day. The Budget lasted till 1932. In 1877 the Herald became a daily newspaper; the Taranaki News had become one two years before.
The Herald became the oldest newspaper in New Zealand after the Lyttleton Times ceased publication in 1935. In 1962 it amalgamated with its old rival, the Taranaki News (now the Daily News). The papers retained separate editorial teams but shared everything else. The News was issued in the morning and the Herald in the evening.
In the 1970s and 1980s it became increasingly difficult to maintain evening newspapers in New Zealand. The Herald was one of those affected and ceased publication in 1989.