Spring 2017


After 11 years and 45 issues it’s time to pass the pen over to someone new. It has been an extraordinary journey that has allowed me to work with some amazingly creative people who have been with me for over a decade. I’d like to say thank you to all of those who have contributed to the magazine over the years, but particularly to my regulars, who are here beautifully photographed by Esther Bunning and Terry Hahn at Murdoch James wine cellar.


My heartfelt thanks go to those loyal advertisers who have supported the magazine, many from the very first issues. And, of course, I would like to thank you, the readers, for taking the time to read about some of the many talented people we have here in this region.

I am really happy to welcome Katherine Robinson as the new owner and Editor of the magazine. She has not only worked in magazine publishing for many years, but has a real passion for the Wairarapa and can’t wait to get stuck into the Summer issue. I know she will do a brilliant job and continue to promote this special region.

Meanwhile, I am taking time out – I am not sure what the next project will be, but that’s half the fun of life.

Many thanks, Raewyn Watson - outgoing Editor.

The Wairarapa will be buzzing this October with an incredible range of events covering the genres of dance, theatre, visual arts, film, circus, comedy, literature and music. Roll on Kokomai!

Toast Martinborough continues to redefine the festival experience, combining the best of 26 years of tradition with fantastic new innovations to remain New Zealand’s undisputed premier wine and food celebration.

One of the Wairarapa’s oldest homestead gardens, Brancepeth, will be a highlight for garden lovers taking part in this year’s Wairarapa Garden Tour.

Are you getting married? Or renewing your vows? Free on Saturday 19 May 2018? Want a $25,000 wedding for only $75? Susan McLeary tells you how.

The closure last year of Masterton’s dedicated music venue King Street Live is blamed by some for an apparent decline in the Wairarapa music scene. But is it in such bad health? Simon Burt takes a listen.

For five years Jazz in Martinborough has featured Gypsy Swing – the duo of local Sam Cooke and Wellingtonian Leigh Jackson – playing Saturday afternoon gypsy jazz guitar. Spring sunshine illuminates their flying fingers as guests sip wine and gently tap a foot as lyrical gypsy jazz music works its charm. Susan McLeary discovers Sam Cooke, the man behind the guitar. 

One thing Steve and Louisa Portman of Clareville Nursery have learned about the Wairarapa Garden Tour is that afterwards there will always be a rush on a certain plant – they just can’t predict what it will be. By Katherine Robinson.

Martinborough is used to seeing people on bikes, but when Dave Frow cycles through the village heads swing and eyes widen in surprise and delight. That’s because his bike is an eye-catching Penny-farthing. Susan McLeary reports.

The Shadbolt name is well known in New Zealand so it’s good to get the question out of the way early. “Yes, it’s my husband’s name – his father is first cousin to both Tim and Maurice.” Right, moving on then ... By Simon Burt.

Three Wairarapa photographers achieved success at this year’s NZIPP Iris awards held recently in Wellington.

Tucked away across a pothole-pocked vacant lot and with little obvious signage, the Regent 58 Brewery & Ale House might hint at a sly grog shop. But, as Simon Burt discovers, it’s the real deal.

Collaborating on ‘The Look of Martinborough’ book, local historian Mate Higginson and writer/publisher John MacGibbon worked in John’s office as they sourced and assembled 170 pages of words and pictures. How appropriate, as the room was Mate’s childhood bedroom. Susan McLeary finds out more.