For some years now evening newspapers in the four main cities have on Saturday evenings produced sports editions with magazine reading sections. Similar sports papers can also be found in Nelson and Hawke's Bay. In former times the weekly editions of many newspapers – no fewer than 22 of them at the turn of the century – were important adjuncts to newspapers. Some of them circulated throughout the land and even to Australia. Among the most prominent were the Weekly Press (Christchurch), which led the field with a record circulation of 40,000 copies an issue in 1901; the Weekly News (Auckland), the Otago Witness (Dunedin), and the Canterbury Times (Christchurch). These papers, and others similar, began as mere reprints of their parent dailies, but later they developed characters of their own; they led the way in pictorial journalism towards the end of last century with half-tone pictures superseding line drawings. Their lavishly illustrated Christmas annuals (the covers and some inside pages were in colour) were fine examples of the lithographer's and printer's art. All but the Weekly News (founded 1863) failed to meet the changing pattern of newspaper circulation. As the distribution systems of the dailies improved, with better roads, with new bus services, with more frequent rail trips, and even with air deliveries, the value of the weeklies lessened, and one by one they closed down – the Canterbury Times in 1917, the Weekly Press in 1928, and the Otago Witness in 1932.
Seventy weekly papers still circulate, but most of them are confined to small towns. Four dominate their field with national circulations that rival some of the metropolitan dailies. At the top of the list is Truth (Wellington), followed by the Women's Weekly (Auckland), the Weekly News (Auckland), and the Listener (Wellington). A fifth large weekly, the Free Lance (Wellington), ceased in 1961.