Steve McCaughan, Regional Manager of Star Media, says at the time the company was devastated by the Government's change of heart as it had been publishing weekly for 152 years through both World Wars, the Spanish flu and the Christchurch earthquakes.
Cabinet's March 30 announcement allowing papers that serve isolated and rural communities to publish, under very strict guidelines, meant Star Media could keep its three regional publications operating - the Ashburton Courier, North Canterbury News and the Selwyn Times.
An upside of the lockdown is that the company's digital media products have captured a lot of new interest and visitors.
The audience engagement with its website starnews.co.nz has sky-rocketed and is heading towards 500,000 views, while its Facebook page has one of the largest profiles in the New Zealand media world with nearly 113,000 followers.
In spite of the world currently living through history, people are beginning to focus on news other than COVID-19, with a local car crash story featuring on the website on Monday having the biggest hits so far.
Photos taken by reporter Jess Gibson for the website’s pictorial grab ‘Life in Lockdown’ are also getting very high engagement.
Mr McCaughan is incredibly proud of how his team are working remotely during this period – getting the job done, gathering stories and getting them published under difficult circumstances.