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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Community Garden News 

November 21, 2018 November 2018 Comments Off on Community Garden News 

 Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ —Robin Williams

Spring is indeed a wonderful time in the garden, and the Community Garden is no exception.

Summer hours: Wednesday and Sunday 10am-12noon

Our spring planting is well underway, and we seem to have chased away the winter blights and vermin. We have planted a large, staggered potato patch, so hope to provide a long season of potatoes. Strawberries are in flower and full of promise. We are harvesting cabbage and silver beet and some very colourful chard, and have delivered a good crop of parsnips to the Larder.

Lettuce, beetroot, spinach, zucchini, cavelo nero, beans and various brassicas have been planted. They have mostly survived the “great frost’: just a few sad beans which will be replaced as we now have a seed bank, to cover these events. Our berries are all looking healthy, under cover of nets: next week they will be joined by tomato plants. 

Medici Café has donated all their coffee grinds for our compost, which is great. Thanks Medici. We have rather more than we can currently use so we suggest that if you would like to help yourself to some of our ‘stock’, feel free to bring along a container and take some from the black bin at the far end of the garden…there is a container there for a koha, which would be appreciated: this will be used to purchase ongoing plant stock.  

What are coffee grinds good for? They provide a good fertiliser for acid loving plants: enrich your compost: deter cats and dogs from roaming garden beds ; repel pests – sprinkle used coffee grounds around your plants to protect them against destructive pests like ants, snails, and slugs.

  As we are now into the growing season we are desperate for additional assistance in the garden. From the first week in November we will be increasing our gardening session to include a Sunday session, from 10am -12noon.We welcome new gardeners at all ages and stages of expertise, please join us on either( or both) Wednesday and Sunday. We would particularly welcome a ‘potato monitor’ and a ‘berry monitor’; anyone who has a spare 20/30 minutes a week to be rostered onto watering duties and of course anyone who just wishes to share in the joy of gardening.

We have been listed as a “small garden of interest” in this year’s Puhaka Mount Bruce Garden festival, which is a great affirmation, so any assistance to make the garden look stunning would be much appreciated.  

We would also appreciate any spare mulch that people may have access to, obviously pea straw is out of the question, but once the heat really hits it is essential to keep the soil cool and hopefully moist. Organic mulch will also help improve the soil’s fertility, as they decompose, thus keeping our vegies productive.

Cooking corner

November 21, 2018 November 2018 Comments Off on Cooking corner

Roast asparagus and Salmon

An easy meal in around thirty minutes. 


400gr asparagus

 4 salmon steaks (aprox 150gr each)

400gr cherry tomatoes 

1tsp horseradish

2 garlic cloves crushed

 2 tbsp olive oil

 Zest of one lemon (finely grated)

1 lemon sliced

 Salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 200 C 

Lay salmon steaks in the centre of large baking dish with the asparagus, lemon slices and tomatoes.

Mix the horseradish, garlic olive oil and lemon zest in a small bowl 

Brush the salmon and vegetables  with this mix and season. Bake fro 15 – 20 minutes  or until the fish is cooked through  and asparagus tender.

Herb Mayo 

4 tbsp mayonnaise 

1 tbsp milk

 1 tbsp dill

1 tbsp chopped parsley

2 spring onions chopped. 

Blitz in food processor until smooth. 

To serve;

 Divide onto four  plates and add a dob of mayo

Serve with mixed greens salad. 

 Photo with

Councillor Comment

November 21, 2018 November 2018 Comments Off on Councillor Comment

Tora Volunteer Rural Fire Force    

I was delighted to be able to represent The Mayor and SWDC at the recent Tora Volunteer Rural Fire Force celebrations.  Three of the original members, Hamish Sims, Alistair Boyne and Mike Doyle received their 25 year Gold Star awards and it was also the 25 year Jubilee of the Tora Fire Force as well.

On behalf of the whole south Wairarapa community I presented certificates to each of the 3 recipients.  it was a great evening held at Brackenridge.

The Fire Party formed in 1993 with 5 members, Mike Doyle, Alistair Boyne, Hamish Sims, Warren Barnes and Ian Pickering.  The first thing was to come up with a name and the Tora Fire Force was formed.  John Welford of SWDC secured their first fire engine, a long wheel base landrover, with a high volume pump on the front, a siren and flashing beacon.  No hoses, etc but at least they had a vehicle!!

In the years since, along with the district, Martinborough Lions, South Wairarapa Rotary, National Rural Fire Authority and a huge amount of fundraising, the Fire Force is now well equipped to service the district.

We congratulate the recipients, and also past & present members of Tora Rural Fire Force who have given up so much personal time to protect their community and the surrounding area, Thank you.

Treaty of Waitangi

Councillors, Community Board members, Maori Standing committee members and Council staff,  recently attended Treaty of Waitangi training at Hau Ariki Marae.  This was taken by Dr Ingrid Huygens, National co-ordinator, Tangata Tiriti – Treaty People Project.  

With the Wairarapa treaty settlement negotiatons going on at the present time, this was a real opportunity to learn, from a different prospective to those taught in our school days, about both Maori and Pakeha history. In some aspects a real eye opener for all of us.  Ingrid, we thank you very much for our new understanding.

Waihinga Centre

I recently had the opportunity, along with other councillors, to go through the Waihinga Centre.  Although this is not quite finished, it is truly amazing inside and out, one can now visualise where everything is going to go and to see both the supper room and the main hall on the same level, is fantastic and I am sure that is what everyone wanted.

I am looking forward to hearing everyone’s positive comments when they have the opportunity to see this for themselves.  Congratulations must go to the Trust members for all the time and effort they have put into this and to Council staff who have kept the finances on track and within budget.

Best wishes to everyone for a very happy November and the count down to Christmas.

Pam Colenso Councillor 027 441 4892 or

Dear Prime Minister

November 21, 2018 November 2018 Comments Off on Dear Prime Minister

The following  letter was sent by the residents of Wharekaka Rest Home to the Prime Minister, Minster of Health and three  Wairarapa members of parliament. 

October 1 2018

Honourable Prime Minister Ms Jacinda Adern

Dear  Jacinda,

We are the Residents of the Wharekaka Rest Home in Martinborough, South  Wairarapa.  Our home is ‘special’ as it is a small, community home efficiently run by a dedicated Trust Board, reinforced by an active Auxilliary group, and well supported by countless community members.  

It was with great pleasure that we were told of last year’s increase of wages for our carers who certainly go ‘above and beyond’ what anyone could expect in their care for us.  They become our friends and we rely on them heavily in these later years of our lives.  Thank you for realizing their worth to us and, at last, giving them pay equity.

May we share with you the importance of Wharekaka to us: 

Because it is a small ‘not-for-profit’ organization we are treated as important members of a slightly larger family than the norm.  We know each other well, are physically and socially catered for, and share our lives as a ‘family’ being able to voice our opinions in matters that concern our welfare and happiness: we are treated as family members.  

       With Wharekaka being so central to Martinborough, moving into residence here has enabled us to remain close to our former homes and within easy visiting distance of, and for, our family members and friends.  We remain a part of the community but are cared for as we need to be in a suitable facility.  Wharekaka provides our township and rural community with this wonderful asset.

     Our location enables us to participate in all local functions if we so wish.  Our Activities Officer ensures we are within the community wherever possible and we feel we still belong to Martinborough, that we are useful members of our society.  We are also close enough for a large number of groups to visit us regularly.

     We have had many interactions with our local Council (through our Residents’ Advocate) and much has been carried out by them to enable our easier access to the township, hence assisting us to be fully interactive in our community. 

Through our meetings we are kept informed of all important issues that relate to our home.  Although you, as Government Representatives, made the move to pay equity (which we applaud) we believe that the funding provided by you did not fully cover this increase in wages and, as a result, Wharekaka (being such a small organization) is struggling financially even further to be able to keep within budget.  Poor funding is a real burden in our home.  Larger organizations have more financial leeway to accommodate such increases as their financial pool is so much bigger.  

        Our small home is vital to us and to our community – as it may be in many areas where small homes operate.  It would be devastating for us if Wharekaka was unable to cope financially and had to close.  We are requesting that you realize the difference between the vulnerable, intimate homes – especially run as Trusts – and the massive, money-making complexes when it comes to providing funding.  Please fight for us by increasing government funding to fully meet all personel wages in our small, intimate and precious homes. 

We do not want to be left here in Martinborough without this valued asset for us, the elderly. 

On behalf of Wharekaka Residents,

Patricia Hill,   Residents’ Advocate.  

The letter is signed by Patricia Hill and eighteen Wharekaka Villa & Rest Home Residents