Star’s Founder found.

Following Mate Higginson’s article on long time Star Editor Fred Michell we have been contacted by the grandson of the founder, Neil Closey. The founder was James Henry Claridge. This remarkable person had spent his working life establishing newspapers, thirteen in all, which once established he sold  and moved on …

20 Year Service Medal for Maureen Thurlow

Maureen Thurlow was presented with the Red Cross Twenty Years Service Medal by Branch President Brian Love at the branch’s volunteer Christmas morning tea. Geoff Cave of Carterton received an Award for ten  years service.   Brian thanked members for volunteering for Red Cross and welcomed a very special guest speaker …

Wairarapa Dark Sky part of major world-wide research project 

The South Wairarapa’s night sky is being monitored round the clock in Spain and contributing to a world-wide dark sky database,  thanks to a European research team. The move follows Chairman of the Martinborough Dark Sky Society, Lee Mauger, making a  connection via Twitter with fellow Dark Sky enthusiast Carlos …

Community Garden News 

“ Gardens are not made by singing” oh, how beautiful’ and sitting in the shade”-  Rudyard Kipling Well here we are HOT; still going, and a little over 12 months  since our first produce was harvested. Like everyone , at the moment the garden is suffering from intense heat, and …

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Fire Brigade service recognised

December 19, 2018 December 2019 Comments Off on Fire Brigade service recognised

This month has seen us honouring the service given by our members as volunteers helping our community. and the promotion of our Station Officer Jake Hawkins to Deputy Chief Fire Officer of the Brigade.

A very special Honours Awards Evening was held in early November, firstly to acknowledge the service given by members, 3 year Service Certificates to John Mansell (the Brigade Secretary and Matt McQuaid, 5 Year Medals to Zoe Sinclair, Callam Tannant and additional 2 year bars to recognise Andy Stuart, Wayne Thomas and Gary Jackson.

After our dinner we then moved on to the most special part of our awards night, the Gold Star Medal presentation to SO Peter Fisher recognising over 25 years of Service to  Fire and Emergency (formerly the NZ Fire Service) and our Community. Pete started his service in Porirua and was actually a Fire Service “Brat” as the children of Firefighters were called back then. Following in the footsteps of both his Grandfather and Father, Pete joined Porirua Volunteer Brigade before he transferred to Martinborough, where he has remained ever since.  … Continue Reading

A ball in a tree

December 19, 2018 December 2019 Comments Off on A ball in a tree

What at first had seemed to be

A football nesting in a tree

Was actually (or so I’ve heard)

An egg of the Giant Soccerbird.


Five years of excellence rewarded at Kuranui prizegiving.

December 19, 2018 December 2019 Comments Off on Five years of excellence rewarded at Kuranui prizegiving.

At this year’s Kuranui Senior Prizegiving seventy Year Thirteen students were presented with certificates for their five years of study.  

Guest speaker, former pupil Andrew Slater, spoke of his experiences in re-organising the New Zealand Ambulance services, working in Silicon Valley and currently setting up a twenty four hour health help line. He assured that it was “okay to be a nerd”, as he had been. He advised them not to bury themselves in work but to always enjoy some recreation and to remember that they were never alone, there are always mentors who they could and should use. 

Harvey Morison was named the Kuranui College 2018 Dux. Harvey gained level 3 NCEA with excellence (over 90%) in year 12 earning a $6,000 university scholarship and in 2018 he has also achieved A grades in Philosophy and Greek Mythology, while continuing to study at school and prepare for scholarship examination papers in technology, physics and calculus. In his spare time he gained his pilot’s licence. He has also been an exemplary peer support leader and student leader, was MVP for the 1st XV rugby team and represented Wairarapa-Bush U18s.

Piper Marshall and Alexander Southey shared the honour of Proxime Accessit. Piper has also gained NCEA levels 1, 2, and 3 with excellence, with five subject endorsements last year. Piper, a School Leader, is known for her mature, committed approach to life inside and outside the classroom and has worked tirelessly to become an excellence student. She captained the college’s successful football First Eleven and named as team MVP.  She has a passion for science and equestrian.

  Alexander, known as AJ, has attained NCEA levels 1, 2, and 3 with excellence. He has a prodigious memory and intellect, which is particularly evident in his writing, his performance and thriving creativity. He was awarded the Tocker Cup, presented to the student who has made the most outstanding contribution to the wider life of the college, excelling in his contribution to the performing arts in particular. He was the key person in producing and acting in the Kuranui entry which won the prestigious  Show Quest held at the Wellington Opera House … Continue Reading

Behind the Scenes at the Martinborough Music Festival

November 21, 2018 November 2018 Comments Off on Behind the Scenes at the Martinborough Music Festival

Until he took on the role of Chair of the Martinborough Music Festival Ed Allen thought he had a good sense of what was involved in putting on such an event.  After all he’d performed professionally as a French Horn player all over the world.  “Not so”, he says now.  “I realise that when you sit down to play or to listen, you are enjoying the results of a tremendous amount of unseen planning and organisation.”

Musicians are often booked up years ahead so within days of the inaugural Festival last year Vicki Jones, with the help of fellow musician Wilma Smith, was working on the critical task of identifying the artists and the repertoire for 2018.  Her choices would include music spanning more than 300 years from J S Bach to Gareth Farr and some 50 years separated the youngest musician from the oldest.   The instruments also spanned the centuries; the most modern a 2015 cello, the oldest a 1610 viola.  

With the artists signed up, the work of promoting the Festival and attracting the audience was next.  The rave reviews from 2017 made this task much easier.  This year’s festival was completely sold out in advance, with 200 more seats sold than last year.  As Brendan Smyth, who managed the marketing says, “We are well on our way to reaching our goal of becoming “the best little chamber music festival in New Zealand.

As the September deadline approached the pace picked up and the logistics became more complex: organising travel, accommodation, support and rehearsals for 6 artists from NZ and overseas; lighting, staging, seating, advertising, ticketing, finance, secretarial, community liaison; moving Cherry Van Kranen’s grand piano (a task for five specialist movers); organising artist visits to local schools and donating tickets for students to attend a concert; and coordinating with the generous funders and sponsors.

You might think that there must be a big team behind such an enterprise.  In fact a committee of six managed it all.  Martin Lawrence, Katherine Lawrence, Brendan Smyth, Marion Townend, Winifred Bull and Ed Allen. 

Two people who made important contributions to the Festival were missing.  Ian Cresswell who first mooted such an event and Cherry Van Kranen whose piano is a key part of the performances.  The Festival was dedicated to their memories

The artists had a chemistry that resulted in a beautiful repetoire becoming even more glorious.  It was “a dream team” according to violinist, Wilma Smith.  The audience responded with matching enthusiasm. In their words,  “absolutely ecstatic”, “a great event”, “spectacular”,“tremendous treat”, “a joy” and “playing of the highest order”.    

The Festival has already pencilled in dates for next year – 27-29 September.  If you would like to know more, visit or email to get on the mailing list for updates. 

Chris Cassels