Coming slowly to a Remutaka Summit near you

By Ray Lilley Is it a bird, is it a plane? It’s a Billboard statement to travellers that they are entering a globally-acknowledged Dark Sky Reserve – one of only 21 such high-quality star-gazing environments operating worldwide.  Another 200 lower-ranked dark sky “places” across the globe have also been recognised …

Determined Pain Farm public meeting wants answers

By Ray Lilley More than five years after the Martinborough Community Board (MCB) asked South Wairarapa District Council (SWDC) to see “the books” (financial records) for the 85-hectare Pain Farm Estate south of the town _ only the board members have changed. Despite repeated requests to SWDC, they have seen …

How Well Do We Know People In Our Community?

By Lyle Griffiths Sue Sullivan is a well-known identity in our community. Where else are you greeted by “Hello Darling,” giving an immediate uplift to your day? And the Havana coffee is now a basic necessity of life.  Bruce and Sue both lived in Martinborough when the children were small, …

Wairarapa Moana – the long path to its return

Dishonesty, theft, treachery. Three little-used words in the history of colonisation in New Zealand. Those words don’t appear in the official documents which, in late 2021, set out the end to Crown ownership of Wairarapa Moana _ Lake Wairarapa, and its return to  local Iwi ownership. They do, however, underpin …

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Martinborough Nurse Trish is on the line for mums

May 7, 2024 May 2024 Comments Off on Martinborough Nurse Trish is on the line for mums

Martinborough-based PlunketLine nurse Trish Higginson is one of scores of staffers round the country to celebrate 30 years of operation for the free-to-call healthline service.

Day, night, and in the wee hours, PlunketLine registered nurses are there to talk to anyone who has questions or concerns about caring for under-five’s. 

Chief Executive Fiona Kingsford says the service has logged about 2.5 million calls since it first lifted a receiver – around 300 calls every day.

Modernisation means the once after-hours telephone-based service now offers one-on-one video calls.

As well as answering all calls related to raising under-fives, Trish is part of a team offering online face-to-face specialist sleep support. Sleep or lack of is one of the top reasons people call the service. 

Around 850 specialist sleep support sessions have been done since it went on line last year.

“It’s so important for caregivers to look after themselves and reach out for support. If you’re not feeling your best, it’s really tough to care for a little one,” she said. 

Calls relating to maternal mental health increased rapidly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Latest data shows they remain high – up 70 percent from the onset of the pandemic.

“Sometimes people need someone to talk to, to figure things out. Having someone to listen and navigate where to go to for support can make all the difference,” she added. 

“Sometimes our nurses will call the GP or other support services on the mother’s behalf – take the load off, make it easier to access the support they need,” said Fiona.

PlunketLine: 0800 933 922. Calls are free from mobile phones.

A (very) good vintage is in the making

May 7, 2024 May 2024 Comments Off on A (very) good vintage is in the making

Pinot Noir clone 115 growing in Te Muna Valley (Credit: Joelle Thomson).

By Joelle Thomson

What does the perfect growing season look like for wine?

Well, 2024 came close. It’s all very well growing grapes in a region that is typically hot, typically dry and has a decent dose of wind (to prevent disease), which are all the big boxes that Martinborough and the wider Wairarapa wine region routinely tick. 

Or should I say, historically ticked, because there is a new normal these days, which ensures that life is anything but business as usual for most winemakers in most wine growing regions around the world. It’s called climate change, (surprise).

It is responsible for the good, the not so good and the downright horribly unpredictable, as torrential rain and a devastating cyclone showed us all over the past two years. We now live in a world in which anybody working with viticulture (grape growing), horticulture or agriculture has to learn to live with the unexpected, which is why it was so refreshingly joyful for winemakers in this region to have such an outstanding lead up to harvest 2024.

That lead up had many winemakers suggesting that 2024 may be one of the best years ever for the quality of Pinot Noir in the Wairarapa. The proof was hanging on the vines; with picture perfect looking grapes, particularly Pinot Noir, which is the most important and highest volume grape in the region with approximately 50 percent of the total vineyard area of 1090 hectares in the Wairarapa. … Continue Reading

How do you like your water? Underdone?

May 7, 2024 May 2024 Comments Off on How do you like your water? Underdone?

Council’s consultation on drinking water, waste and storm water offered local punters three options:

– BAU or Business As Usual at the current level (only adjusted for cost inflation);

– BAU Plus, to allow for some extra maintenance, planning, investigation work and modest resilience;

– High level of investment allows for forward growth planning, investigations and resilience.

Councillor Kaye McAulay sat in on the three groups of residents that considered the South’s water issues, dilemmas and crises.

As each group ended, she asked for a “show of hands” as to which option participants preferred.

The strong preference by 2-to-1was for BAU+ – extra spending above the business-as-usual option. No-one voted for the High level investment option, which came with a price-tag clearly seen as beyond current means and budgets.

As for the option costs, they grew to meet greater ambition by officers to repair, plan and upgrade the current failing systems of the three towns, and settlements like Pirinoa and Ngawi. … Continue Reading

Wellington Water recast under way

May 7, 2024 May 2024 Comments Off on Wellington Water recast under way

Wairarapa and Wellington councils have joined forces to work through proposals to replace the now-abandoned “Three Waters” programme, after the coalition government asked for regional plans which can implement its alternative “Local Water Done Well” project.

South Wairarapa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the region’s nine other local bodies to undertake the design work for a new water services body. 

An alternative to a 10-entity grouping plan could see the three Wairarapa councils coalesce to run a separate water entity and develop their own water delivery plan, the Times Age suggested.

One report suggests South Wairarapa and Carterton will put $10,000 each into the planning fund, with Masterton to pony up double that amount. 

Initial funds are expected to come from the residue of a water programme development fund pool held by the Department of Internal Affairs. Funding beyond August remains unclear.

Currently, the local bodies use Wellington Water as their water services provider. 

Wellington Water describes itself on its web site as “100 percent council owned and funded … to provide safe and healthy drinking water, collect and treat waste water and ensure the storm water network is well managed.”


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Martinborough WFC: First-ever home game

The all-important stats: Result: Irrelevant, but Martinborough Women scored at least 2 good goals. Enjoyment factor: as a spectator 10/10 Enjoyment Factor: as a player: 11/10 Effort and commitment: off the scale. Possession: Marty 58%; the opponents in Green: at times a bit less Shots on target: 3; goals 2. …

Martinborough Golf

By Karen Stephens An annual favourite, the Beef & Burgundy Ambrose held on Friday 10 May, saw a great turnout in favourable conditions (thank goodness it wasn’t the previous day when winter arrived with full force!)  Top honours went to the team of Michael Bing, Shane Colton, Tiawharangi Aranui, and …

Golf clubhouse fundraising builds up

An amazing fundraising day for the new clubhouse was held on April 19 when 34 teams took to the course in an ambrose tournament. The winners on the day with net 54.87 were Taylor Dewis, Robbie Robinson, Tom de Groen and Liam Richardson.  The longest drive for men went to …

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From The Mayor

By Martin Connelly Firstly, can I thank the Deputy Mayor for keeping this column going …


Matariki Rising from 29 June Nine stars herald the New Year Remutaka Hill Closures by …

How Well Do We Know People In Our Community?

By Lyle Griffiths Sue Sullivan is a well-known identity in our community. Where else are …

FIRE BRIGADE REPORT – Call-out milestone: SIX each week

Martinborough’s Volunteer Fire Brigade crews reached the 150 call-out milestone in May. That’s an average …

Matariki and family key to Aratoi winter exhibits

This season, Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History has a group of exhibitions that …


By Brenda Channer – Martinborough BookShop “Why Do Horses Run?” There is a maxim among …

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