The Matamata Record was established by William Clement Cargill (1870-1933) in 1916. Cargill had previously owned the Wairarapa Star and the Patea County Press, and had also started the Pukekohe & Waiuku Times in 1912. In 1915 he purchased the Morrinsville Star and Matamata Gazette, which was the first newspaper to be published in Morrinsville. In 1916 he set up the Cargill Publishing Company and launched the Matamata Record.
The first editor of the Matamata Record was Albert George Yardley (1886-1959), who had previously worked on the Te Aroha News and the Pukekohe & Waiuku Times. While Yardley ran the Record, Cargill continued to edit the Morrinsville Star. Six years later the Cargill Publishing Company also started the Putaruru Press, which ran from 1923 to 1989.
Apart from a fire in 1919, which destroyed the Record’s office, it appears that the Matamata Record had a relatively quiet life. Cargill, who became president of the NZ Master Printers’ Federation from 1928-1930, died in 1933 and Yardley took over the management of the company.
Yardley retired in February 1954 and was replaced as manager by Francis G Snedden (1913-1997), who’d previously been on the New Zealand Herald editorial staff. In July the company’s name was changed to East Waikato Publishers and the decision was made to close the Matamata Record that year.
The town retained a bi-weekly newspaper, the Matamata County Mail, which had started life as the Matamata Review in 1934, until it too closed in 1975. For a short time, from 1958 to 1963, a monthly, then fortnightly paper, the Matamata Householder was also published, and in 1963 the Matamata District Chronicle began. As the Matamata Chronicle, it was still being produced in 2017 as one of the Fairfax NZ titles.