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Who read the air cond memo?

February 13, 2024 February 2024 Comments Off on Who read the air cond memo?

Is cooling the region a key performance requirement for SWDC?

Or did they forget to send the memo about air conditioning, how it works _ and costs?

The front door at the council’s offices on Kitchener Street are a model of aircond decorum. Movement activation/automation means minimum time for the interior air to be displaced/replaced by the warmer outside in summer _ or colder outside in winter.

It also means the cost of the office aircond for the bill-payers (aka ratepayers) should be reasonably contained. 

Perhaps one of the amenities staff on the council could be deployed to consider the door issues at the council’s other main Martinborough office facility _ the Waihinga Centre.

There, much to the chagrin of at least one grumpy ratepayer, summer’s heat sees two or three main access doors deactivated and/or propped open during normal operating hours.

So, the Martinborough Library, Knucklebone Cafe and i-Site staff working inside the complex face open doors. The result is an aircond unit permanently churning away as it seeks to cool the whole region by dragging in the hotter outside air. 

Open doors ensure that. The electricity bill must be significant.

But by closing the wide-open doors to allow the aircond to ventilate and cool the interior, one would assume the electricity costs would be significantly reduced. 

The grumpy resident could feel a little less irritated by thinking the Waihinga Centre’s power costs have gone down, even if his rates have increased 76 percent in five years _ with double digits to come this year?

Podocarpus Totara – Tree of the Month

February 13, 2024 February 2024, Regular Features Comments Off on Podocarpus Totara – Tree of the Month

Growing tall and proud, but rather alone: Totora in the playground.

By Martin Freeth – Trees of Martinborough

Hot summer days help us appreciate trees like this one – the 70 year old totara in the Waihinga Centre grounds. The tree is looking very healthy, providing shade to play areas and gives high “amenity value” (visual appeal) to the grounds. 

In 2019, a letter signed by 83 Martinborough residents formally asked South Wairarapa District Council to ensure preservation and protection of this totara. Council officers had suggested removing the tree for the health and safety of children: Tree roots were said to be causing damage to the concreted basketball court and skate park next to its trunk. A subsequent arborist’s report said “remedial options are available to retain the tree,” without significant affects on the court or skate park. The arborist put a value of $23,000-$28,000 on the tree, considering all its benefits. Nearly five years on, this totara is looking better than ever – and the concrete appears in good shape too. 

Have a look for yourself! 


Totara, a New Zealand native, grows up to 30 metres high with a diameter of up to 2 meters. It has a juvenile, adolescent and mature form. Starting with spindly, almost weeping branches covered in fine needle-like leaves through a pyramidal tree phase, to eventually acquiring a massive trunk and branches that bear dense foliage. 

Totara trees, also known as Podocarpus totara, can live 800 to 1,800 years.

Do we do well in welcoming newcomers?

February 13, 2024 February 2024 Comments Off on Do we do well in welcoming newcomers?

Of the 1.047 people who moved into South Wairarapa district last year, four out of seven (57 percent) felt “sort of” (43 percent) or “not” (14 percent) welcome to the community, research presented to the Martinborough Community Board shows.

Newcomers range from those who have “extremely positive” (43 percent) experiences in moving here, to the rest whose experience was “not so much.”  

The research, funded by the government’s Welcoming Communities initiative, shows four in 10 arrivals “believe (the south) is inclusive and accepting of people from different cultures, and 11 percent believe it is not.”

The project acknowledges that as a rural community there are no established “formal mechanisms” to meet, greet and help integrate new arrivals.

“Welcoming in South Wairarapa is done at the individual level and it relies on locals and neighbours being welcoming, inclusive and helpful to newcomers, as well as relying on newcomers to ‘put themselves out there,’” the report notes.

“For newcomers to be welcomed, included and integrated … it will require intentional and coordinated effort; rather than the assumption that it should just happen unassisted. 

“There is an opportunity for council to lead, partner with, and empower, local groups, organisations, marae and enthusiastic individuals so there is active welcoming, visible inclusion and on-going cultural conversations happening across the district.”

Examples of what newcomers told the researchers about how they often feel less than welcome or accepted:

*What did you find difficult about settling in? 


“How on earth do you connect with people?’

“It was difficult to know where information was shared.”

“The lack of a community centre, a hub … with organised activities, craft, social service etc.”

“Who’s who. Lots of things are relationship based rather thasn public knowledge.”

“Almost everything (we) have found about the community is from Facebook.”

*What made you feel welcome/not welcome? … Continue Reading

Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve headlines 2023

February 13, 2024 February 2024 Comments Off on Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve headlines 2023

Milky Way straddles the Wairarapa coast’s dark sky. Photo: Pete Monk.

Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve heads the world list of new dark sky places set out by the international body which gives the world-wide dark movement it’s formal status – itself renamed as DarkSky.

The former International Dark Sky Association (IDA) made the name and logo change to DarkSky during a year which saw 17 more places sign up to the world-wide dark sky movement.

The group has named Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve at the top of that list of 17 new communities, parks, sanctuaries and reserves – lifting the total world-wide to 210 by year end.

In its annual report, DarkSky notes what it calls “a successful year” for its advocacy as it “continues to make incredible strides to protect the night” – despite light pollution growing at “an alarming” 10 percent a year.

“We are confident these destructive trends of light pollution can and will change,” with “more places and people committed to preserving the natural night light as never before.”

The latest signs of change include: 

* astrotourism continues to grow, with the industry worth half a billion dollars world-wide;

* dark sky-related terminology like “light pollution and “skyglow “ has nearly doubled in on-line mentions and searches over the past two years;

* success stories continue to pour in from communities and places committed to protecting their dark skies.

As DarkSky also notes in its annual report, Antarctica remains the one continent without a dark sky place or advocacy group – and it’s put out a challenge to Antarctic scientists to volunteer.

In New Zealand, there are at least 20 locations where volunteer groups have confirmed their interest in creating a dark sky place.

They are: Dunedin, Fiordland, Takaro (near Te Anau), Naseby, Moeraki, Geraldine, Kuaotunu Peninsula, Selwyn, Oxford Observatory, Rekohu (Chatham Islands), Kaikoura, Wainuiomata – Orongorongo,  Raetahi, Whakatane – Eastern Bay of Plenty, Waitakere Ranges, Waiheke Island,  Russell, Far North District. Masterton currently is working to join/expand the Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve.



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New golf clubhouse build, fund-raising up and running

Martinborough golf’s new clubhouse build is well under way _ as are fundraising efforts. It doesn’t seem long since we watched the demolition of the old clubhouse and now the frames for half the new building are in place with scaffolding up ready for the roof timbers. Everything is going …

Golf pro-am success _ without clubhouse

By Karen Stephens A record field of 172 players, including 43 professionals from New Zealand and Australia, battled light winds, warm temperatures and even light early-morning fog at Martinborough golf’s 2024 CER Electrical and Holmes Construction pro-am on February 1. At least that was the range of excuses for some …

Featherston wrestlers go offshore

Two members of Featherston Amateur Wrestling Club’s senior class have again been asked to join a New Zealand team overseas.  Wairangi Sargent and Angus Read will take part in the Journeymen Tournament and Training Camp over Easter in New York state.  Over the week they are there they will be …

Regular Features

News from First Church

 Many folk imagine that going to church is a bit of an ordeal, a waste …


By Martin Connelly In February the local Lions Club invited me for dinner and asked …

Driving Growth and Collaboration: Martinborough Business Assn Committee

The Martinborough Business Association Committee plays an important role in fostering economic growth and collaboration …

How Well Do We Know People in our Community?

Michael Bing talks to Lyle Griffiths Michael was raised in Auckland, attending St Peters College …


By Brenda Channer – Martinborough Bookshop “Whether Violent or Natural” by Natasha Calder This debut …

Community Garden News

By Debbie Yates This is definitely the month of thank you. Nga Mihi Nui! We …


Saturday 10 February: 10th annual Citizen Science Kākahi Count at Western Lake Shore Reserve, 18km …

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