The Waikato Times began life as the tri-weekly Waikato Times and Thames Valley Gazette, on 2 May 1872.
The owner was the enthusiastic newspaperman George Jones and the editor Henry Holloway, who had considerable experience in New Zealand newspapers. The paper was first published in Ngaruawahia but moved to Hamilton in 1875. At this time Jones sold out of the paper (now the Waikato Times) and the Bank of New Zealand and Auckland lawyer Frederick Whitaker bought a controlling influence.
From 1878 George Edgecumbe, local body politician and real estate agent, became the paper's business manager. In 1896 the Bank cancelled Edgecumbe's lease and sold the Times to James Shiner Bond. Edgecumbe left to start the Waikato Argus and took with him the editor, Henry Holloway, as well as the files, advertising contacts and goodwill.
After initially contemplating legal action, Bond focussed on the task of rebuilding the paper, merging his Cambridge newspaper, the Waikato Advocate, with the Times. He converted it to a daily (evening) publication. The new editor was Sydney Greville Smith.
The Times and the Argus competed for 20 years, in business and politics, until merging in 1915. The new Waikato Times was now politically independent, but became a powerful voice for promoting the region's development. During the 1920s new linotype and then stereotype presses enabled the paper to significantly increase its the print run in order to meet an increasing circulation demand from a growing population.
From 1968 to 1976 the paper was known simply as the Times. No new competitors emerged and it continues as a daily to the present day.