No tumbleweeds on Ineke’s watch

It’s stating the obvious to say that Martinborough is a very different town now from the one Ineke Pyl first visited in 1972.   What may not be so obvious is how many of the positive changes that have created today’s thriving village owe a debt to Ineke’s vision, energy …

A Truckload of Books

Every year thousands and thousands of donated books pile up in the hall of First Church awaiting the annual Mid-Winter Monster Book Fair. It’s just the start of the long process of getting them ready for sale.  They have to be sorted into the many different categories then packed up …

New man in the CEO chair

Harry Wilson, the new CEO of SWDC is connected to the area already by a curious coincidence.  Earlier in his career, when he worked at the Department of Social Welfare, his boss there was Griff Page.   Some years later Griff himself became Chief Executive of SWCD (retiring in 2009).  …

Under The Martinborough Stars

Matariki, the Maramataka and the Winter Solstice Set your alarm clock. Put a pot of coffee on. Wrap up warm. Morning stargazing in Winter rewards you with viewing the beautiful Matariki cluster. Recently, New Zealand has begun to reinstate the Māori seasonal calendar over the last decade or so, and …

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A Very Special Event

June 18, 2019 June 2019 Comments Off on A Very Special Event

Winifred and David.

Most opera lovers’ commitment to the art form involves buying tickets to public performances.  Winifred Bull and her husband David decided to take their love of opera a whole lot further.  They designed a new home with enough space to stage concerts for more than 100 people. 

They particularly wanted to support young singers, who typically have limited opportunities to perform for the public.  Working with the Dame Malvina Major Foundation (2 concerts) and Music Victoria (6 concerts) they have not only provided a chance for up-and-coming talent to shine but have also have raised more than $40,000 in the process.   

Sadly David died suddenly in 2017 but Winifred is determined to maintain the tradition the two of them created.  “He loved opera so much I know he would have wanted me to continue.  I’ve had wonderful support from local people like Bernie Jackson and Tom and Di Bunny.  They have made it possible for me to keep doing this.”  Tom even made a public pledge to Winifred to  happily be your chair stacker for life and will obey most of your orders with a reasonably cheerful demeanour…’ 

This year’s concert on May 19 was another sell out.  The audience was unanimous in their praise of the event and the performance of the young singers.   They said that the chance to hear and to support the students at the start of their careers was what they valued most.  Locals in the audience loved the fact that Martinborough could offer such high quality performances “just down the road”.  … Continue Reading

Doctor Graham Milne OBE

June 18, 2019 June 2019 Comments Off on Doctor Graham Milne OBE

Dr Milne in 2009.

Graham Milne was Martinborough’s highly regarded doctor, serving the town in the late 1960s and 1970s . In April Dr. Graham Milne OBE died in Takaka where he had lived in retirement for some years, he had reached the age of 100. His legacy in Martinborough is Wharekaka Rest Home .    

In 1964 he  had been co-opted as a member of a Ministry of Health committee charged with providing a blueprint for the future of care of the aged. The committee had been formed to study the new British government initiative establishing comfortable rest homes for the elderly. In those days the elderly were left to very much care for themselves.  

In 1970 the Wairarapa Health Board closed it’s maternity home in Martinborough leaving a useful building in a pleasant setting. To doctor Milne, who had by then been in the town for a couple of years, the answer was obvious; a perfect rest home. Doctor Milne spoke about it to the Mayor Sid Ussher who called a public meeting which Dr Milne addressed. 

There was considerable enthusiasm for the idea and The mayor and doctor were given the go ahead to negotiate with the Hospital Board for a suitable lease.  They were obviously very persuasive as the Board agreed to a  twenty year lease with right of renewal at a symbolic rental of $20 a year. The rest is as they say, history 

In 2009 Dr Milne returned to Martinborough for the launching of the book Wharekaka, the the history of Wharekaka Rest Home*

Previous to coming to Martinbrough Dr Milne had served at Naenae. While there, in conjunction with the Lions Club, he was instrumental in establishing the New Zealand Asthma Society and its first clinic. 

Dr Milne was awarded the OBE for his public service. 

  • The book Wharekaka – how a community created a rest home – is available at the library  
  • NB An appreciation of Ineke Kershaw will be in the next issue


June 18, 2019 June 2019 Comments Off on MARTINBOROUGH COMMUNITY BOARD NEWS

Have you remembered that Local Body Elections are rapidly approaching with only a few months to go before voting in October? The present Community Board has put in three years’ effort and managed to achieve much to improve our town’s facilities. We would like to encourage other locals to stand for election for the next term. Being a Board member is not that difficult and can be very satisfying, so give it a go! You can get all the information you need from the SWDC.

Recently the Board was made aware of the follow-on effects of the Palliser Walk’s increasing popularity as a dog walking spot. The owners wanted to install some dog-poo bins to make visitors’ journeys more pleasant and the Community Board assisted with the purchase and installation of these. Some will also be erected in Jellicoe Street.

Our swimming pool was a huge hit over the past long, and what can now be considered ‘hot’ summer, and it’s bound to become increasingly popular from now on. We wish to thank the Council, following our submission, for installing the much-needed new covers.

Several Grant Applications were considered at recent meetings. Funds have been given to this year’s Martinborough Music Festival, which was so successful in 2018. The Martinborough Community Garden is now well established and doing (and growing) great stuff so the Board had no hesitation in providing money for materials and tools they need to improve the area. Another local enterprise doing excellent work in town is the Breakfast and Homework Club, which was awarded a grant. The Wairarapa Rape Crisis organisation was also granted assistance.

There is a further round of grant applications to be considered coming up soon. Any groups or organisations who wish to apply, please note that your request forms need to be completed by August 15th. All applications are given careful and thorough consideration to ensure our town benefits in the best ways. Information and the required paperwork to complete is also available from the SWDC.

Maree Roy.

Under The Martinborough Stars

June 18, 2019 June 2019 Comments Off on Under The Martinborough Stars

“Wairarapa house and night sky star trails (Photo by Glen Butler)
NOTE: The building is on private property and permission for the image was obtained from the landowner.

By Becky Bateman

My house is north facing and I get people telling me all the time how good my tomatoes must be. On face value that seems a perfectly fine and normal comment but, thinking deeper, it shows how much the sky affects our lives.

The more I thought about this, the more complicated and amazing it is how much the sky influences our day-to-day living. Like me, you’ll think of the obvious ones first; that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West to mark our day and that by midday it is in the North.

Look at Martinborough. It is a perfect place to grow grapes for award winning wine, as most vines are planted facing north in the full sun and protected from strong winds. This little town is also perfect for night time stargazing as it is in the proposed Dark Sky Reserve and the community are involved in keeping the night sky dark for all.

We can look at compasses on our smart phones if we need to find our direction, but long before such technology existed, we had to read the sky to know where we were.

All the planets, the Moon and the twelve signs of the Zodiac rise in the East and set in the West. They follow the Sun’s path, which is known as the ecliptic. … Continue Reading