Troublesome Hinekura Road formally re-opened – for now

By Ray Lilley Hinekura Road _ a 23-kilometer stretch of mostly narrow, winding, hilly and massively poor condition access road to rural farmlands east of Martinborough _ formally reopened on April 18, with a red ribbon cut to mark the event. Some 25 people, including the acting mayor, three councillors, …

Electrifying comes to Marty town centre

The Wairarapa’s first EV (electric) delivery van will shortly be trundling P&K orders round the streets of Martinborough. It will be followed by the installation of two EV fast charging stations at the shopping carpark off the Square. Until now, no formal plans for EV charging stations have surfaced for …

Palestine war vigil attracts toots, waves in Square

By Ray Lilley A protest group holding Palestinian flags, posters reading “Toot for Gaza,” “Genocide” and “Free Palestine” is winning solid support – with tooting, waves and thumbs-up from passing motorists and, notably, younger tourists who stop to add to the gathering of between 12 and 20 locals. Some join …

Skyline Challenge “roaring” success for Lions

After last year’s cyclonic washout, this year’s Lions’ Club Skyline Challenge was a “roaring” success, with around 250 participants turning up to mountain bike ride, run and walk over the challenging hills north of town to enjoy the fabulous views and perfect weather conditions. “It was such a disappointment last …

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Protecting and preserving the International Dark Sky

April 5, 2024 April 2024 Comments Off on Protecting and preserving the International Dark Sky

International Dark Sky Week, April 2 – 8, is upon us worldwide. It is a week of world-wide celebration of the dark and natural night, co-ordinated by DarkSky International. 

Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve is the volunteer group accredited by DarkSky International to help  preserve, protect, enhance and promote the region’s beautiful dark night sky. 

Wairarapa reserve is one of about a dozen groups working across the nation to protect and preserve the night sky from light pollution.

The week-long global celebration of the night began on April 2 and culminates on April 8, to coincide with 2024’s total solar eclipse.

DarkSky International notes:

“For many, the dark night is often misunderstood, unfamiliar and even frightening. But the natural night is filled with wonder and awe, and is critical to the heal;th and wellbeing of the planet and its many creautres and life-forms.

“Join DarkSky International to discover the night together, learn about the harmful effects of light pollution and what we can do to embrace the dark and save the night.

“Check out the official International Dark Sky Week website to learn more about this one-of-a-kind celebration and actions you can take to fight light pollution – such as taking the DarkSky Pledge to protect the night!”

For more information, visit


Vineyard gas gun disturbs neighbours, but not the council

April 5, 2024 April 2024 Comments Off on Vineyard gas gun disturbs neighbours, but not the council

A vineyard gas gun bird scarer is exercising, annoying and upsetting a vineyard’s neighbours on Ferry Road – with one council official recommending they consider private legal action in the absence of council enforcing its gas gun rules.

“Her (Council CEO Janice Smith) officers seem to be shielding the growers around Martinborough,” an exasperated Hilton Doherty told The Star, responding to an article (OK Boomer: it’s bird scarer time) in the March edition. 

That item noted: “the clincher: how to lodge a noise complaint so council’s environmental health and noise control staffers can be alerted.”

Doherty has been doing that for two years, while another neighbour wrote to the council to raise “the issue of excessive gas gun use back in January 2022 with Rick (Mead, manager environmental services), and agree with Hilton about the disappointing response from SWDC about this on-going issue.”  … Continue Reading

UPDATER: Wairarapa Moana mussels in deep trouble – survey

March 12, 2024 March 2024 Comments Off on UPDATER: Wairarapa Moana mussels in deep trouble – survey

By Martin Freeth

Trees of Martinborough

Kākahi/ freshwater mussel populations in Lake Wairarapa are in deep trouble due to water pollution and the effects of climate change – a condition confirmed again in preliminary results from recent monitoring by NIWA  ecologist Mark Fenwick and his band of “citizen scientists.”  

Mark was joined by about 30 Wairarapa locals and a group of environmental specialists from Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Department of Conservation for the 10th annual ‘kākahi count’ at Western Lake Reserve on Saturday, 10 February. Ten teams of three people waded into the shallows and collected mussel samples for measurement and visual assessment of their shells. … Continue Reading

Water woes budget questions pile up

March 12, 2024 March 2024 Comments Off on Water woes budget questions pile up

Water supply and wastage are major issues for South Wairarapa District Council (SWDC) and the people of Martinborough, Featherston and Greytown. 

As always, dry summer weather has brought restrictions on household water use and this summer, leaks in the town supply systems are more evident than ever. So what progress is SWDC making?

Recently-released financial data for the half-year ended 31 December 2023 gives some indication. 

But it also raises serious questions about whether SWDC and its water service supplier, Wellington Water Ltd, are anywhere near on top of the issues.

A council Statement of Comprehensive Revenue and Expenses for the half year shows $2,3m in actual operating expenditure on water supply – that is $194,000 less than budgeted for.  … Continue Reading


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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 …

Women’s football team in Green, Black and … Pink strip

Martinborough Football Club has unveiled a vibrant new palette of green, black and pink with the introduction of a women’s team, marking a significant milestone for the club. The rise of interest in women’s football, fueled by events like the FIFA Women’s World Cup, highlighted the demand for local opportunities. …

New golf clubhouse build, fund-raising up and running

Martinborough golf’s new clubhouse build is well under way _ as are fundraising efforts. It doesn’t seem long since we watched the demolition of the old clubhouse and now the frames for half the new building are in place with scaffolding up ready for the roof timbers. Everything is going …

Regular Features


Pain Farm Estate Future Public Meeting hosted by: Martinborough Community Board  Date: Wednesday 15 May  …

From the Acting Mayor

By Melissa Sadler-Futter It’s great to be able to connect with you through The Star …

Martinborough Community Noticeboard

This new Noticeboard is to list Martinborough community groups and activities. The goal: provide a location …

ARATOI: Jane Sinclair – Quiet Observations

Masterton painter Jane Sinclair has finally finished painting new works for her upcoming exhibition Quiet …

The Star Book Review

By Brenda Channer In 2020, during lockdown, did you drag a chair to the end …

News from First Church

If you should find yourself driving semi-aimlessly up the east coast on the Ponatahi or …

Martinborough fire season still controlled

The FIRE SEASON has moved to RESTRICTED, meaning a permit is required for most fires …

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