The Waikato Times will become a morning newspaper on Monday, September 5 in a move its management says will allow it to better serve readers and advertisers.
The newspaper is New Zealand's fourth largest daily and is the only afternoon paper in the country serving a major urban centre.
It moved the Saturday edition to morning in 2003 and will now do the same with its weekday editions.
Waikato Times editor Jonathan MacKenzie said the move was exciting for staff and readers and would allow the paper to set the news agenda from the start of each day.
"The Waikato Times will do what it has always done - cover Waikato stories better than anyone else. But becoming a morning newspaper will give our coverage a huge boost."
Mr MacKenzie said afternoon newspapers around the world were being squeezed by a number of factors, including the rising consumption of news online.
"We are aware of those changing consumer habits and we are responding to them, both by moving to morning and further improving our website.
He said the paper would be strengthened for the morning re-launch with new content and sections, more local news and a refreshed design.
Waikato Times general manager Gerard Watt said the announcement was "great news for the newspaper and the region we serve".
"It is time the Waikato got its own morning paper. Delivering our local news package earlier in the day is a logical step and follows our successful move to a Saturday morning edition some years ago.
"Most importantly, the move to morning will allow us to produce better what our readers value most: exceptional local, exclusive content that makes a difference in their community."
Mr Watt said the move to morning would also assist distribution of the paper and allow it to reach more readers more quickly each day.
Readers and advertisers will be briefed in detail on the change over coming weeks.
After September 5, subscribers will receive their daily paper by 6.30am each day.
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- © Fairfax NZ News
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