The paper was founded as the Taranaki News on May 14, 1857, by friends of former Taranaki Province Superintendent Charles Brown following his defeat. Brown was the first proprietor of the newspaper and he appointed his political supporter and former Taranaki Herald editor Richard Pheney as its editor. The paper, initially housed in a small wooden building on the east side of Brougham Street opposite the present library, became a strident critic of the Herald and the provincial government. The paper began publishing on Saturdays and in 1885 changed its name to the Taranaki Daily News when it began publishing daily.
The "Taranaki" was dropped from the masthead about 1862, when the paper's ownership was merged with that of the Herald to become Taranaki Newspapers Ltd, and reinstated in 2004. As of 31 March 2005 the circulation was 26,754.
Taranaki Newspapers Ltd was bought by Independent Newspapers Ltd in 1989 and is now part of the Fairfax Media group. An electronic version of the paper is available on the stuff.co.nz website.
TNL also publishes two free weekly newspapers in the Taranaki region: The North Taranaki Midweek (Wednesdays) and the South Taranaki Star (Thursdays).
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