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April 11, 2017 April 2017, Regular Features No Comments

Did you know?
The Martinborough Fairs began as a three day Bush Carnival in February 1973 to raise money for a replacement ambulance. The amount required was four thousand dollars (2017 = $49,164), the carnival raised six thousand ($73,747). The motto of the Martinborough Ambulance Service was ‘For faith in service of mankind’.

Four years later Bill Fetch took up the idea of Greytown Rotary holding a two day fair on the first Saturday of February and March. These were held in Soldier’s Square and attracted thirty five stall holders. And so the Martinborough Fairs began.

In the 1920s Association Football (soccer) was big time in Martinborough with the club fielding two senior teams. Between 1924 and 1927 cups were regularly won, in 1927 five cups ended up on the Club’s shelf. The club president was the local policeman constable R D Squires who ensured that everybody toed the line.

Home games were played on Stacy Wall’s paddock. In 1928 the paddock became unavailable so the soccer, rugby and cricket clubs arranged with the Race Course trustees to purchase thirteen acres by the sales yards from Mr Alex Sharp. A new trust was formed having two member from each of the three clubs, and the chairman, Mr W B Martin.

The trust continued until 1945 when the land was handed over to the Borough Council. The area fronting New York Street became Coronation Park, the piece on the Eastern side fronting Regent Street becoming Puruatanga Park. In 1980 the latter becoming the Hau Ariki Marae complex.

Waihinga’s first public library opened in March 1883. The library was situated in Mr Green’s Boot Shop, the annual subscription was five shillings (2016 = $44.)

Also in 1883 the Bishop of Wellington opened the Tuhitarata Maori community’s church. The 18 feet x 30 feet church was in the European style complete with porch and spire. The builder was Mr W Boyd of Martinborough.
Mate Higginson

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