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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Museum news

June 18, 2019 June 2019, Regular Features Comments Off on Museum news

There’s been quite a buzz recently about the discovery of million year old moa footprints in a river in the South Island. If you are intrigued by this strange and now extinct bird follow the moa prints around the square to the Martinborough Museum where we have our very own moa collection. It was created back in 1976 by Robert Cairns, a 13 year old Masterton school boy who did it as a science project. It includes bones, egg shell and lots of information about the bird.

This old photograph, courtesy of Mate Higginson, shows well preserved moa leg bones (including the claws) that were found at Haurangi Station. It graphically demonstrates their huge size.

The museum is open Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays 1.30-3.30pm. Admission is free but any donations are much appreciated.

Know your town

June 18, 2019 June 2019, Regular Features Comments Off on Know your town

Destruction following the 1942 earthquake . A path has been cleared to allow customers to get into the shop.

George Pain corner

For those who think Pain and Kershaw’s was established on the Square in Martinborough in 1873 , please think again. The building there now is the third George Pain Building,  having been completed in July 1908. The first store and dwelling was built in 1873 on George Pain’s land in where the road branched south to go to the  Smith and Bidwill’s farms or west to the Inn and Ferry crossing.  The track is now the boundary of Martinborough Transport yards.

The store was run by George Pain’s wife while he went around the  Stations selling good  from his pack horses. There is  no photo of this store but it was probably of the same  plan as his second store.

George Pain later sold his business to John Gallie however a few years later he  bought the  business back from Gallie and  formed a partnership with  T O Haylock to form the company Pain and Haylock.  John Kershaw was the accountant for this company becoming a third party in 1899 with the store then trading as Pain, Haylock and Kershaw. John Kershaw bought out  Haylock in 1905 with George Pain becoming a silent partner at that time. 

The second store was opened on the Martinborough section in 1882. It was a stop gap building as while the present building was planned and built. 

In 1907 work started on an new upmarket building on the Square, this featured an ornate façade. The Kershaw family bought the building from the  George Pain Estate when he died. 

On the night of July 22nd 1908,  just as the new store was preparing to open, store number two caught fire and burned down.

During the 1942 Wairarapa earthquake most of the facade fell down and that which didn’t was pulled down  by the army First Battalion Scottish Regiment  who camped in the Town Hall during the operation. Grimmer and Bicknell builders from Carterton boarded up the frontage  to make the building workable.  In the early 1950s Riggs did the complete restoration of the building. 

In 1973  the company celebrated one hundred years of service and is now looking forward to the one hundred and fifty years celebration in 2023. Over the years  both the Pain and Kershaw families have given freely to many causes in the district.

Mate Higginson

The Perfect Win-Win

June 18, 2019 June 2019 Comments Off on The Perfect Win-Win

“I hope this works!” A trust-building exercise on the Discovery Course. Photo courtesy of Discovery.

Challenges come in many different forms.   For the 200 people who entered the Skyline Challenge this year it was the opportunity to test themselves physically on South Wairarapa’s very hilly farmland.  Some rode, some ran and some walked.  There were tumbles, trips and probably some cussing but also a lot of satisfaction from making it to the finish line.

For the Martinborough Lions who created the event and run it each year, the challenge was to give entrants a great experience and to raise money for worthy local causes.  Working with just a small team of volunteers and with the help of Huri Huri they raised more than $4000.  “Helping the community is what Lions is all about.” says Event Coordinator Graeme Thomson “We are lucky to have such helpful farmers and generous sponsors.”

The Martinborough Youth Trust will be the immediate beneficiary.  Sue Sullivan and Pat Church set up this charitable trust to fund local teenagers on residential life skill courses.  So far they have helped over 70 young people. ”We chose the 13-18 age group because it is a formative time and having more tools to handle life’s challenges is really valuable.”   … Continue Reading

South Wairarapa Rebus Club

June 18, 2019 June 2019 Comments Off on South Wairarapa Rebus Club

At the 24 May meeting of the South Wairarapa Rebus Club, Joe Howells of Green Jersey Cycle Tours, Martinborough, shared recollections of his Himalayan Motorcycle Trip in 2018. Members were impressed by the detail of some of his observations – he was certainly not just a thrill-seeker wanting to cross a dozen mountain passes higher than the summit of Aorangi Mt Cook; he absorbed the atmosphere, he communicated it.

Joe was one of 14 riders on an organised 12-day/1400 km. motorbike tour on elevated and rough roads in two regions of the Himalaya Mountains with a combined land area about that of Northland.  The roads were mostly built by the Indian Army to provide access to disputed border areas. They are poorly maintained through its ‘Border Roads Organisation’.  There are underlying regional tensions and refugees here, close to the disputed borders between India, China & Tibet.

In these regions altitude sickness is a dangerous, possibly fatal risk especially for unseasoned foreign visitors. Joe acclimatised gradually over three nights at increasing altitude and stuck with the tour recommended diet, avoiding meat, eating local vegetable meals, drinking tea and had no problems.

  The motorbikes were 500cc single cylinder Royal Enfield Bullets made in Chennai to a modified mid-1950s design in factories abandoned by their UK owners at the time of India’s independence. They were solid, easily maintained and well-suited to the conditions. Indian mechanics in small roadside stalls knew these machines intimately. … Continue Reading