Home » August 2017 »Regular Features » Currently Reading:

Know your town

August 7, 2017 August 2017, Regular Features No Comments

The John Martin Family

John Martin arrived at Wellington along with nineteen family members on the ship ‘Lady Nugent’ on seventeenth of July 1841. Six years later he married Marian Baird who came from the Fountain Hall area in Scotland. They had ten children: Elizabeth, Arthur , Sarah, Robert, John Jnr, William, Edward, Albert, Marian and Jessie.

John Martin initially worked carting goods around Wellington but in 1860 went south where he had relatives. He made considerable money selling livestock at the goldfields, coming back to Wellington he used the money to speculate in land and property.

He purchased Otaraia run from the A Giles estate in 1869 putting his wife’s nephew, J D Baird in charge, Baird established the Waihinga township in 1870. John’s son Edward took charge of Otaraia then later Arthur.

Early in January 1879 John purchased the Huangarua run from George Waterhouse for eighty five thousand pounds (current equivalent = $13,666,885) . He planned a township with a Square in the shape of a Union Jack with 595 house and business sections plus 334 farms and farmlets on the perimeter. His plan was officially filed on twenty second of June 1882. Meanwhile an initial auction of sites had been advertised to be held in Wellington for the 25 – 26th October 1879. However sales were poor and the auction was discontinued.

The first building in the town was TF Evan’s saddlery built in 1882 on the edge of the square (now the Batch).Next to start was R Buckeridge’s Martinborough hotel, however this took a long time to complete and then get a licence finally opening at New Year 1883. Around the same time George Pain was building his store also off the square.

A 1885 newspaper clipping quoted John Martin as declaring “Martinborough is the place to live” however while he and Marion sometimes entertained at Otaraia Homestead they never did live there. Sad to say he never lived to see his dream take off, he died in May 1892 and is buried at Karori cemetery.

The estate was wound up with the Huangarua run being divided with the west William to be called Huangarua and the East to John Jnr to be called Puruatanga and Otaraia to Arthur.
With the second generation in charge things began to move, albeit slowly, from Waihinga to the new Martinborough village. The Anglican church was built under the guidance of John and Arthur. William , a manager of the Presbyterian Church at Waihinga, wanted he by now too small to be rebuilt on the section now occupied by Poletec.

The second generation Martins were active in helping the town grow being involved in the library, race course etc. John Martin’s grandchildren continued to support the town being involved in the fire brigade, ambulance, electric power house, plunket, parks etc. Miss cicely Martin donated the land for the town’s pensioner flats. Having one of these people on your committee and it couldn’t fail.

Martinborough and Waihinga officially became on with it’s own Town Board in 1905, curiously there was no Martin on the Board. However generations of Martins served on the County Board. In 1944 William’s son Jack became Mayor of Martinborough serving from 1944 to 1953.

Mate Higginson

Comment on this Article:


Golf news

November came and went pretty much without rain, finally the Course has dried out and that little dimpled ball is back running down the fairway, bringing a cheer to many who thought that the rain might never stop. The highlight of the month was the Women winning the Teams Stableford …

Martinborough Netball Club

Indeed while this year is almost over and this article slightly late, just to let you know what the season has been like for the Martinborough Netball Club. The Netball Premier Team moved up a grade this netball season from previous years having played in the Premier 2 grade. We …

Walking is a man’s best medicine. (Hippocrates)

SOUTH WAIRARAPA TRAMPING CLUB While crossing a busy intersection in Christchurch last week I spotted a banner sporting the message: WALK2freeTHE.MIND. This surely captures in a catch-phrase a credible philosophy. Throughout the decades numerous walking quotes have been recorded, many of which portray the physical and mental benefits of a …

Regular Features

From the Mayor

Martinborough is now on the international Dark Sky map with the recognition of the International …

Waihinga Centre

Seasonal Greetings The Waihinga Charitable Trust, the Fundraising Team and the Communications Team would like …

News from First Church

All good gifts around us are sent from Heaven above Then thank the Lord, O …

Maree’s musings

JOIN the PARTY … Relax … this is not a political message; for now, that’s …

Library news

The Summer Reading Programme for the children has started and Roz informs me it is …


The Community Board has almost reached the end of a busy year, with its final …

Dear Dr Jane

Dear Dr Jane My husband is a farmer and I am worried that he is …

Recent Comments