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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Local Pa sites uncovered from 1940s aerial pix

May 7, 2024 May 2024 No Comments

Standing near the pa hang out, with flax-filled swamp below. Prof Leach with walking stick.

Many South Wairarapa Pa sites sat lost in time, unnoticed, even hidden, in the rolling, expansive landscape until a young group of archeaologists interrogated aerial photos from the 1940s.

Then, says Professor Foss Leach, they stood out _ on sand hills, at river bends, topping knolls and small hills – and almost always with direct access to water sources. Both for supply and transport.

Prof Leach recently led a group to view two Pa sites south of Martinborough – Raho Ruru Pa (aka Humes Pa) on the Hume farm at the end of Raho Ruru Road and Jackson Pa located on Jackson Farm.

Raho Ruru was a fortified pa, where today oval pits up to a metre deep mark where kumara storage pits with raised rims and drains to divert water had been built, with housing areas nearby above terraces and areas of pallisades – poles with manuka fencing between.

This fortified Pa has a steep hillside frontage to the west, flax swamp and water source to the south, with a “double ditch” feature _ and another ditch and steep bank on the east side.

Prof Leach pointed to a hangi pit with typical “burnt” hangi stones and carbon remains from cooking fires.   

“This was a special place with a fence, a hilltop Pa,” and “not likely to be much older than when (inter-tribal) warfare started in New Zealand.” Carbon dating of the hangi oven residue – not yet done – “could radio carbon date a sample within 50 years” and help with time-lines for the site. … Continue Reading

Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival returns

May 7, 2024 May 2024 No Comments

Gina Cole, Nafanua Purcell Kersel, Victor Rodger, Makerita Urale at the 2023 Karukatea Festival.

Kia ora Booklovers! May means it’s Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival time!  

The Young Readers Programme will take 22 writers/storytellers to over 1,000 students in schools across the Wairarapa from May 8 – 10. Then the Karukatea Festival graces the town from May 10 – 12, which promises an enchanting blend of literature, culture, and community spirit.

One of the festival’s most beloved initiatives, the Book Voucher scheme, makes a triumphant return this year. Every primary student in the South Wairarapa region receives a $20 book voucher, thanks to the generous contributions of Friends of Featherston Booktown. Last year, eager young readers explored the Booksellers Hall and local bookshops, excitedly searching for a new book to take home with them.

Diversity thrives at the heart of our festival, with a wide range of events and personalities bound to appeal. Sporting enthusiasts won’t want to miss former All-Black Carl Hayman’s talk on his book ‘Head On,’ shedding light on his journey through rugby and the challenges of early onset dementia. Renowned former squash champion and Human Rights Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is the guest speaker for the famous Fish’n’Chip Supper. … Continue Reading

SWDC marks staff longevity: 118 not out

May 7, 2024 May 2024 No Comments

Long-service award recipients (from left): Andrew McEwan, Sara Edney, Penny Griffin, Christine Allanson.

A century is a long time in the same job and South Wairarapa District Council is celebrating four staff who collectively have clocked up even longer.

“We appreciate the high dedication these staff have shown in their respective roles over several decades and their ongoing commitment to many customers and our wider community,” Russell O’Leary, group manager Planning and Environment, said in a statement.

The four have performed a diverse range of roles in clocking up 118 collective years – from animal control, environmental services, librarian and customer services to accounts, building consent administration and management. 

Penny Griffin, Branch Librarian Featherston joined 21 December 1986 = 37 years.

“Penny is loved and respected by her Featherston community because she has an incredible commitment to improving literacy and education outcomes… A staff member who is motivated by service,” said Stefan Corbett, group manager Infrastructure.

Christine Allanson, Customer Services Advisor – Reception, joined 20 March 1989 = 35 years.

Christine is the friendly front face at the council’s Martinborough office. She has held several roles throughout her tenure at council and is a long-time resident of Featherston. 

“Christine is treasured for her tremendous sense of community in everything that she does,” said Paul Gardner, group manager Corporate Services. … Continue Reading

ARATOI: Jane Sinclair – Quiet Observations

First Light, Milford Sound, 2023, oil on stretched canvas. Image credit: Jane Sinclair.

Masterton painter Jane Sinclair has finally finished painting new works for her upcoming exhibition Quiet Observations, on display at Aratoi from mid-April through to June.

Jane has been inspired by the physical landscape of the mountains, hills, valleys,rivers, and the coastlines of the Wairarapa and New Zealand. 

This geology, combined with our country’s dynamic weather patterns, creates vast cloudscapes that affect how the light falls on the land and water.

The exhibition is comprised of twelve landscapes, some instantly recognisable and some a little more unknown.

“I don’t like to paint the same scenes as everyone else,” she says. “I will try a different viewpoint or paint at dawn or dusk, the colours and atmosphere are fabulous then.”

Jane has borrowed some of her works from private collections around the region as well as using some pieces that hang on her wall at home. She has also been busy painting several new works for the show.

Quiet Observations will be her first solo show in nearly a decade.

Jane Sinclair: Quiet Observations 20 April – 16 June Aratoi gallery.


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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

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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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