Autumn 2017

As the song says, the times they are a-changing. Toast Martinborough turned 25 in 2016 and a lot of thought went into refreshing the iconic event so it was “grown-up, safe and fun” for guests.

Heading into her third year in the role, event manager Anna Nielson  is relaxed about event liquor laws and says that, with very few exceptions, guest feedback rated 2016 as “one of the best in years”. 

With house prices spiralling in Wellington and the Hutt Valley, more people are making the move to the Wairarapa. Australian academic Dr Geremie Barmé was on holiday in the Wairarapa last year, when a friend told him she wanted to sell her house in Featherston. Once used as the town’s bakery,  the house had plenty of quirky historical charm. It was perfect.

Old books and fresh coffee make a winning combination at Café Loco, adding to Featherston’s rebirth as a booktown. Set up by ex-Radio New Zealand broadcaster Kate Mead and husband Ross, Café Loco is a sociable hub where you might walk in to buy a cappuccino but find yourself stopping to scan the bookshelves. In the morning, tradies are the first to step through the purple-framed door to put the world to rights over a coffee and a paper in the lounge. Later, young mothers drop by for a chat and throughout the day a stream of locals and visitors call in for coffee, books or both.

Since Tim and Carissa Fairbrother first opened their doors for business in 2008, RIVAL Wealth has continued to flourish. They pride themselves on their business reputation as being one of the top places to work in the Wairarapa. Staff retention is very high, with the key being flexible working hours to fit in with family life.   With the recent building extension of their head office now completed, they’re now on track to extend business growth, opening an office in Wellington.

Sue Sullivan runs possibly Martinborough’s the busiest espresso machine, remembering everyone’s preferences with great good humour. Which is surprising, as she starts work at 2am. Much later in the day, Susan McLeary explores the Sullivan family’s Kitchener Dairy. Sitting in the middle of Kitchener Street, locals know this is the heart of Martinborough.

With its variety of terrain, stunning scenery and handy shuttle bus, Rivenrock Mountainbike Park is looking set to put Wairarapa on the mountainbike track. It’s only been open for a matter of weeks, but Rivenrock Mountainbike Park near Mount Holdsworth already has the biking fraternity in a buzz.

Peaceful Greytown is an ideal location for its new Acupuncture and Herbal Wellness Centre service. Dawn Lucia has a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (California) and recently moved to Greytown with her partner Jessie. Susan McLeary tells the intriguing story of how they got here.