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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Medici lectures

June 18, 2019 June 2019 Comments Off on Medici lectures

Our town, our people, their stories celebrated in 2019 Medici Lecture Series

Sophie Hensley kicks off the series on June 5 with a lecture on a “A dog’s role in international Disaster Rescue Work.” She tells how rescue teams use dogs to help find people who have been trapped after a disaster. Her lecture is based on her experiences as a dog handler with the International Disaster Response Team, Rapid UK. She has trained with dog teams in the USA, Oman, Finland and Peru as well as responding to earthquakes in Haiti, Pakistan and Iran.

One June 12 Michael Arapoff tells the personal story of his father’s survival in the turbulent times between the Wars. Johann fled St. Petersburg in 1917 to escape the Bolshevik uprising. He travelled to Vladivostock and then into the Far East before boarding a ship to France and finally arriving in Berlin in 1919. He lived as a Russian Exile until 1943.

Clive Paton has called his lecture “Tonganui-Big South” which is a visionary concept of a major conservation project to bring birdsong back to the South Wairarapa. It involves the local community and committed landowners from Pukaha to Palliser and from Aorangi to Zelandia. With the survival of our native species under threat and increasing numbers of pests and predators the project is a beacon for hope. This lecture is on Wednesday 19 June.

The final lecture on 26th June will be given by Jim Dennison and Leanne Williams from the “Crystal Chain Gang” who are glass casters and is entitled “Light as a feather”. Operating from local premises they have established a critically  acclaimed practice that is supported by art galleries and private collectors throughout New Zealand and overseas. Working with glass the aspect of light has always been paramount and this practice has evolved to capture it in their bespoke chandeliers one of which is being designed for the Waihanga Centre.

The Café opens at 6 p.m. and the lectures are due to start at 6.30. A complementary glass of wine and nibbles will be served. The charge is $20 a head.

Maree’s musings

June 18, 2019 June 2019, Regular Features Comments Off on Maree’s musings


Recently I’ve been able to get back to my customary daily walks after a period of enforced inactivity (a warning to my readers: avoid coming down with sciatica – it’s ghastly!). The return to exercise is bringing me much joy. There’s nothing like getting out on a glorious Martinborough morning and getting some exercise too. One such occasion recently – a Saturday – I came across about half a dozen others doing just that: we exchanged the usual greeting (“Cracker day!”) and continued on our ways. 

However, for me, there was a little heartbeat of sadness: the others were all accompanied by a dog or two. After 40 odd years, I no longer own one, and the walk got me thinking. Maybe I could invest in a toy one? Not a ‘toy breed’ as such, but an artificial one. A ‘robodog’! I confess the remainder of my walk that day passed in a thought blur as I mused on how that could happen. Modern society is awash with labour-saving technology; from relatively simple things like the pop-up toaster to automatic garage doors and so on; and there are robots slaving away in sometimes surprising environments. So why not a robot dog?

Later, I googled (smartphone – there we go again) ‘robot’ and discovered it derives from the Slavic word robota which means work. Of course that word was not part of my Whippet’s vocabulary ( they’re the laziest breeds on the planet), but she did have her uses. Not many, I must confess. Dogs are a great conversation opener for a start, and naturally a robot version would work superbly with that, but without the drawbacks associated with the usual living model. For starters, there could still be the motivation for exercise, which might need working on initially. To help with that, however, there’s the thought of controlling your (and ‘her’) pace and without having to stop every metre or so for a sniff or a pee. No racing up to other dogs, attempting to chase cats or chooks or absolutely HAVING to eat that discarded pie-crust while almost dislocating your own shoulder into the bargain. And no need to incorporate a ‘motion’ while in motion if you get my drift. … Continue Reading


June 18, 2019 June 2019, Regular Features Comments Off on FIRE BRIGADE REPORT 

Rob and Emily at the Sky Tower.

Another month has raced by, the brigade has been kept busy mainly with Medical Response and Rescue calls along with a couple of Fire calls relating mainly to smoke or fires that have started from fireplace ashes. If you are disposing of ashes we recommend a metal bucket left for 36 – 48 hours sitting well away from structures and vegetation, before disposal (wood ash is great for your garden or compost). 

On Saturday the 18th of May Firefighters Robert Brown, Emily Abbot and Zoe Sinclair from the Martinborough Brigade completed the Sky Tower Challenge 2019 along with Firefighters from around New Zealand. This unique event is where Firefighters race up 1103 steps (51 flights of stairs) of the Sky Tower  while carrying over 25kg of Firefighting gear all to raise money for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand. Rob, 

Emily and Zoe want to thank all the generous supporters around Martinborough town who dropped their spare change in our helmets that were placed around town and to those who donated online. Thanks to you all we contributed around a $1000 for the cause. Without support  of the Martinborough community this event wouldn’t be possible, we are so humbled to compete for such a great cause and have already started training for next year!  Looking for a challenge like this ….Keep a look out for our recruitment coming soon, some exciting new things are about to happen. 

Changing of the Guard

June 18, 2019 June 2019 Comments Off on Changing of the Guard

The end of May saw us gather for the Business Association AGM where we celebrated the years achievements.

Support was given to:

Dark Sky

Phasing out of single use plastic bags

Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce trainings and buy local campaign and the Summer of Cycling

Council discussions and representations included:

Showers for cyclists

Issues with Liquor licenses, food safety plans, parking, water

Held a member only meeting with council over first water crisis

Advised recruiter of our needs in the new CEO

Focused initiatives included:

New Association logo and the buy local campaign

New Membership Website

CCTV for the village centre

Cycle racers away from centre of village

We also said farewell to Peter Couchman who has decided its time to hand on the baton to new Chair Allan Hogg. Committee member Conor Kershaw commented ‘It has been great having Pete to lead the MBA over the past 2 years. He has lifted the bar with his engagement with partners of the MBA such as the South Wairarapa District Council  and the Wairarapa Chamber of Commerce. I am excited to see where Allan can help lead the MBA in the future. … Continue Reading