The owners of Napier's Hawke's Bay Herald, in partnership with others, set up the Poverty Bay Herald. The first issue of this bi-weekly morning paper was published in Gisborne on 5 January 1874. When the paper started publication Gisborne already had a newspaper, the Poverty Bay Standard (1872-1883).
Like most New Zealand newspapers in the 19th century, it took the Herald some time to get established. In 1879 the paper nearly went into liquidation when the City of Glasgow Bank failed. However the Herald started to flourish in the 1880s. It proved too strong for its competitor, the Standard, which folded in 1883.
The outright acquisition of the paper in 1884 by Allan Ramsay Muir gave it stability. Muir's father had worked on the earliest New Zealand newspaper, the New Zealand Gazette as well as being one of the founders of the Wellington Independent (one of the country's most distinctive papers). Muir started working at the Herald in 1880 as a printer. He became a partner in 1883 and sole owner the year after. His descendants are still involved in the management of the paper today.
There were a number of other papers published in Gisborne before 1940. The most noteworthy is the Gisborne Times (1896-1938) but none of them were able to compete with the Herald. In 1938 the Herald absorbed the Times and the following year the paper changed its name to the Gisborne Herald.
The paper is still published and is one of the last privately operated daily newspapers in New Zealand.