Autumn 2017

Issue #1 of this magazine was first published way back in 2006 and, strangely enough, that doesn’t seem that long ago until I think about all the changes in the region. 

The Martinborough Fair - March 4 

As far as markets go, the Martinborough Fair must be one of New Zealand’s prettiest and most popular.

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”. 

Doing it yourself is part of the national DNA, so it’s not surprising that injecting a dash of DIY into a wedding has become a growing trend. Going the DIY route for a wedding is a bit like making a patchwork quilt. Yes, it’s easier to buy ready-made, but it can be so satisfying to put together something that’s uniquely yours. Not only can you do it your way but you can save money – the price tag for an average Kiwi wedding is now around $30,000. With a bit of imagination, you can trim back some of the costs or perhaps spend more on those things you think are important.

High Kitty, the lucky charm of hot air, the first special shape hot air balloon announced to take to the skies during the 2017 Wairarapa Balloon Festival. 

The 33 metre tall gigantic balloon, will travel down-under from her home in Dallas Texas, USA to New Zealand to attend the Festival being held across the region over Easter Weekend, from 13th to 17th April 2017. 

We can all think of towns where rampant development has created a blot on the landscape but David Borman, born and bred in Wairarapa, is responsible for some of the most sympathetic buildings and heritage renovations in the region. He talked with Anne Taylor in Kuripuni, where an exciting new project is unfolding.

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.

Now in its 22nd year, Martinborough Round the Vines appeals to those wanting to activate their hamstrings and their taste buds. Whoever said running was boring has obviously never been to Round the Vines, an annual running and walking event in Martinborough.

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.

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.

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.