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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Do we do well in welcoming newcomers?

February 13, 2024 February 2024 Comments Off on Do we do well in welcoming newcomers?

Of the 1.047 people who moved into South Wairarapa district last year, four out of seven (57 percent) felt “sort of” (43 percent) or “not” (14 percent) welcome to the community, research presented to the Martinborough Community Board shows.

Newcomers range from those who have “extremely positive” (43 percent) experiences in moving here, to the rest whose experience was “not so much.”  

The research, funded by the government’s Welcoming Communities initiative, shows four in 10 arrivals “believe (the south) is inclusive and accepting of people from different cultures, and 11 percent believe it is not.”

The project acknowledges that as a rural community there are no established “formal mechanisms” to meet, greet and help integrate new arrivals.

“Welcoming in South Wairarapa is done at the individual level and it relies on locals and neighbours being welcoming, inclusive and helpful to newcomers, as well as relying on newcomers to ‘put themselves out there,’” the report notes.

“For newcomers to be welcomed, included and integrated … it will require intentional and coordinated effort; rather than the assumption that it should just happen unassisted. 

“There is an opportunity for council to lead, partner with, and empower, local groups, organisations, marae and enthusiastic individuals so there is active welcoming, visible inclusion and on-going cultural conversations happening across the district.”

Examples of what newcomers told the researchers about how they often feel less than welcome or accepted:

*What did you find difficult about settling in? 


“How on earth do you connect with people?’

“It was difficult to know where information was shared.”

“The lack of a community centre, a hub … with organised activities, craft, social service etc.”

“Who’s who. Lots of things are relationship based rather thasn public knowledge.”

“Almost everything (we) have found about the community is from Facebook.”

*What made you feel welcome/not welcome? … Continue Reading

Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve headlines 2023

February 13, 2024 February 2024 Comments Off on Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve headlines 2023

Milky Way straddles the Wairarapa coast’s dark sky. Photo: Pete Monk.

Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve heads the world list of new dark sky places set out by the international body which gives the world-wide dark movement it’s formal status – itself renamed as DarkSky.

The former International Dark Sky Association (IDA) made the name and logo change to DarkSky during a year which saw 17 more places sign up to the world-wide dark sky movement.

The group has named Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve at the top of that list of 17 new communities, parks, sanctuaries and reserves – lifting the total world-wide to 210 by year end.

In its annual report, DarkSky notes what it calls “a successful year” for its advocacy as it “continues to make incredible strides to protect the night” – despite light pollution growing at “an alarming” 10 percent a year.

“We are confident these destructive trends of light pollution can and will change,” with “more places and people committed to preserving the natural night light as never before.”

The latest signs of change include: 

* astrotourism continues to grow, with the industry worth half a billion dollars world-wide;

* dark sky-related terminology like “light pollution and “skyglow “ has nearly doubled in on-line mentions and searches over the past two years;

* success stories continue to pour in from communities and places committed to protecting their dark skies.

As DarkSky also notes in its annual report, Antarctica remains the one continent without a dark sky place or advocacy group – and it’s put out a challenge to Antarctic scientists to volunteer.

In New Zealand, there are at least 20 locations where volunteer groups have confirmed their interest in creating a dark sky place.

They are: Dunedin, Fiordland, Takaro (near Te Anau), Naseby, Moeraki, Geraldine, Kuaotunu Peninsula, Selwyn, Oxford Observatory, Rekohu (Chatham Islands), Kaikoura, Wainuiomata – Orongorongo,  Raetahi, Whakatane – Eastern Bay of Plenty, Waitakere Ranges, Waiheke Island,  Russell, Far North District. Masterton currently is working to join/expand the Wairarapa Dark Sky Reserve.

Featherston Amateur Wrestling Club

February 13, 2024 February 2024, Sports Comments Off on Featherston Amateur Wrestling Club
As 2024 gets underway the Featherston Amateur Wrestling Club looks forward to welcoming families back to the gym on Fitzherbert Street Featherston each Wednesday Night from 5.30pm from March 6th.
Another exciting year awaits with local, national and international tournaments on the calendar and lots of life skills learned on the mat.
Our volunteers are already working hard for the club helping out at Scotty’s Meats BBQ at the Martinborough Fair and planning is underway for another Ambrose Golf day at Martinborough Golf Club on Friday 5th April.
Please get in touch if you would like to be part of Wairarapa’s most successful sporting club.

World pianist plays in Featherston on March 3

February 13, 2024 February 2024 Comments Off on World pianist plays in Featherston on March 3

Wairarapa concert-goers raved about Nikolai Saratovsky on his all-too-brief visit to New Zealand last year.

The master pianist is a highly-regarded professor in the prestigious Music Department of the University of Taiwan. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of classical piano, an impeccable technique and is in great demand for student masterclasses wherever he goes in the world.

His NZ mentor Mary Gow first met Saratovsky in Brussels on a concert tour of her own.

“I knew right away that this young man was very special. He has such fire and dynamism on his playing and he demonstrated such an understanding of the great composers _ even the ones demanding great skill and technique,” she said. “I knew he would be going far.”

At the first opportunity, Gow arranged a concert tour to New Zealand for Saratovsky.

“He fell in love with the country,” she said. “He loves the outdoors, and New Zealand worked its spell on him.”

Nikolai has returned several times _ even though he has received international recognition, occupies an important teaching post and wherever he gives a concert he fills prestigious concert halls in the Far East and Europe.

Saratovsky will be playing at Anzac Hall in Featherston on Sunday March 3, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. 

The programme will include Chopin Preludes, Brahms Opus 76, Scriabin and more.

Information and tickets ($35, students $15) from The Dickensian Bookshop in Featherston, Mrs Blackwell’s Bookshop in Greytown and Martinborough i:Site.



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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 …

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

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

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

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