Masterton (Māori: Whakaoriori), a large town in the Greater Wellington Region of New Zealand, operates as the seat of the Masterton District (a territorial authority or local-government district). It is the largest town in the Wairarapa, a region separated from Wellington by the Rimutaka ranges. It stands on the Waipoua stream between the Ruamahunga and Waingawa Rivers - 100 kilometres north-east of Wellington and 39.4 kilometres south of Eketahuna.
|NZ Parliament||Ikaroa-Rāwhiti (Māori)|
|• Mayor||Lyn Patterson|
|• Deputy Mayor||Graham McClymont|
|• MPs||Kieran McAnulty (Labour)|
Meka Whaitiri (Labour)
|• Territorial authority||Materton District Council|
|• Territorial||2,300.17 km2 (888.10 sq mi)|
|• Urban||21.54 km2 (8.32 sq mi)|
|Elevation||69 m (420 ft)|
|• Density||12/km2 (32/sq mi)|
|• Urban density||1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+12 (NZST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+13 (NZDT)|
Masterton has an urban population of 21,800, and district population of 28,200 (June 2021).
Masterton businesses include services for surrounding farmers. Three new industrial parks are being developed[when?] in Waingawa, Solway and Upper Plain. The town functions as the headquarters of the annual Golden Shears sheep-shearing competition.
Masterton suburbs include:
History and cultureEdit
Masterton was founded in 1854 by the Small Farms Association. The association was led by Joseph Masters – after whom the town was named – and aimed to settle working people in villages and on the land. At first Masterton grew slowly, but as its farming hinterland became more productive it began to prosper.
In the 1870s it overtook Greytown as Wairarapa's major town. It became a borough in 1877 and was reached by the railway line from Wellington in 1880. The railway became for a time the main line from Wellington to the north of New Zealand and its arrival cemented the town's position as the Wairarapa region's main market and distribution centre.
In April 1965 one of the country's worst industrial accidents occurred at the General Plastics Factory on 170 Dixon Street.
In essence providing support services for rural industry - living off the sheep's back - Masterton's real growth ended with that sector's retrenchment after the 1974 British entry to the trade and political grouping now the European Union. Efforts to decentralise industry to New Zealand's provinces gave Masterton a print works and some other industries but the lost economic activity was not restored.
From the 1970s, people and businesses left for opportunities elsewhere. In the 1980s, with government deregulation and protective tariffs lifted, more businesses closed and the town declined further.
It did not quite qualify to be a city by 1989 when the minimum population requirement for that status was lifted from 20,000 to 50,000.
Te Oreore marae and Ngā Tau e Waru meeting house, located in Masterton, is affiliated with the iwi of Ngāti Kahungunu and its hapū of Kahukuraawhitia, Kahukuranui, Ngāti Te Hina, Tahu o Kahungunu, Tamahau and Whiunga, and with the iwi of Rangitāne, and its hapū of Hinetearorangi, Ngāi Tamahau, Ngāti Hāmua, Ngāti Taimahu, Ngāti Tangatakau, Ngāti Te Noti, Ngāti Te Raetea and Ngāti Te Whātui.
In October 2020, the Government committed $2,179,654 from the Provincial Growth Fund to upgrade Ngāi Tumapuhia a Rangi ki Okautete, Motuwairaka, Pāpāwai, Kohunui, Hurunui o Rangi and Te Oreore marae. The projects were expected to create 19.8 full time jobs.
Masterton District covers 2,300.17 km2 (888.10 sq mi) and had an estimated population of 28,200 as of June 2021, with a population density of 12 people per km2. The Masterton urban area covers 21.54 km2 (8.32 sq mi) and had an estimated population of 21,800 as of June 2021, with a population density of 1,012 people per km2.
Masterton District had a population of 25,557 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 2,205 people (9.4%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 2,934 people (13.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 9,936 households. There were 12,372 males and 13,185 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.94 males per female. The median age was 43.2 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 4,968 people (19.4%) aged under 15 years, 4,371 (17.1%) aged 15 to 29, 10,857 (42.5%) aged 30 to 64, and 5,361 (21.0%) aged 65 or older.
Ethnicities were 84.7% European/Pākehā, 21.3% Māori, 4.0% Pacific peoples, 3.9% Asian, and 1.6% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.
The percentage of people born overseas was 12.9, compared with 27.1% nationally.
Although some people objected to giving their religion, 50.2% had no religion, 37.7% were Christian, 0.7% were Hindu, 0.1% were Muslim, 0.4% were Buddhist and 3.1% had other religions.
Of those at least 15 years old, 3,030 (14.7%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 4,803 (23.3%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $27,800, compared with $31,800 nationally. 2,403 people (11.7%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 9,420 (45.8%) people were employed full-time, 3,270 (15.9%) were part-time, and 705 (3.4%) were unemployed.
|SA2 name||Population||Dwellings||Median age||Median income|
|Cameron and Soldiers Park||2,160||963||43.3 years||$24,200|
|Douglas Park||2,016||873||44.7 years||$26,000|
|Lansdowne East||2,715||1,158||47.2 years||$27,200|
|Lansdowne West||1,596||696||44.5 years||$28,200|
|Masterton Central||711||297||40.7 years||$23,700|
|McJorrow Park||1,677||588||30.0 years||$20,300|
|Solway North||2,346||963||40.0 years||$26,700|
|Solway South||3,459||1,401||37.9 years||$27,600|
|Homebush-Te Ore Ore||1,050||432||49.0 years||$36,500|
|Upper Plain||1,224||480||46.9 years||$35,600|
Masterton enjoys a mild temperate climate grading towards a Mediterranean climate. Due to the geography of the Wairarapa valley and the Tararua Range directly to the west, the town's temperature fluctuates more than nearby inland city of Palmerston North. Masterton experiences warmer, dry summers with highs above 30 °C possible and colder winters with frequent frost and lows below 0 °C.
|Climate data for Masterton|
|Average high °C (°F)||24.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||18.1
|Average low °C (°F)||11.8
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||44.4
|Average rainy days||7.1||7.6||10.1||9.2||11.0||13.2||14.1||14.1||11.7||12.8||10.0||9.7||129.8|
|Average relative humidity (%)||76.0||82.9||84.2||87.0||89.5||91.3||91.1||89.6||83.5||79.0||78.8||76.9||84.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||238.6||204.4||169.2||155.6||132.0||99.9||114.9||128.6||148.0||184.0||185.6||221.3||1,964.2|
|Source: NIWA Climate Data|
The Masterton District Council (MDC) is the Masterton District territorial authority. It is made up of an elected mayor, a deputy mayor/councillor, and nine additional councillors. They are elected under the First Past the Post system in triennial elections, with the last election being held on Saturday 12 October 2019.
The current council members are: Lyn Patterson (M), Graham McClymont (DM), Gary Caffell, Brent Gare, David Holmes, Bex Johnson, Frazer Mailman, Tim Nelson, Tina Nixon, Chris Petersen and Sandy Ryan. All councillors are elected 'At Large'. There are also two Iwi representatives, Ra Smith and Tirau Te Tau.
Politics 2013 to 2016Edit
Applications for local government reorganisation from the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Wairarapa district councils in mid-2013 led to a proposal from the Local Government Commission for a region-wide unitary authority. In June 2015, the Commission decided not to proceed with this proposal due to lack of public support. Instead, because about 40 per cent of submissions suggested alternatives to the status quo, the Commission decided work with councils and the community to achieve some consensus on the challenges it faced, and to collaborate in identifying possible options to address the challenges.
Masterton's schools were reviewed over 2003 to take into account a changing demographic of the population, with several primary schools closing and merging. Today, there are five state primary schools in the township – four state contributing primaries: Douglas Park, Fernridge, Masterton Primary and Solway; and one state full primary: Lakeview. In addition, there are five state full primary schools in the surrounding district: Mauriceville, Opaki, Tinui, Wainuiouru and Whareama, and two state-integrated primaries: St Patrick's, a Catholic contributing primary, and Hadlow, an Anglican full primary.
Masterton Intermediate School, with over 500 students, is the only intermediate school in Masterton (and the Wairarapa), bridging the gap between the state contributing primary schools and the secondary schools.
Two state secondary schools serve Masterton: Wairarapa College is the largest of the two with 1050 students, serving the western side of the town, while Makoura College with 320 students serves the eastern side of town. Four state-integrated schools also serve the town: Chanel College is a coeducational Catholic school with its own intermediate department; Rathkeale College and St Matthew's Collegiate are Anglican boys and girls schools respectively, with St Matthew's having an intermediate department; and Solway College is a Presbyterian girls school with intermediate. There is also a composite (primary/secondary combined) Māori immersion school in the town: Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Wairarapa.
Masterton has its own polytechnic, run by UCOL (Universal College of Learning).
The Masterton District Library and Archive, situated on Queen Street, are part of the Lower North Island SMART Libraries group, which involves sharing books and information between 22 libraries.
There are several newspapers circulated in Masterton, including two daily publications (Wairarapa Times-Age, The Dominion-Post) and a free community title, Wairarapa Midweek. The Wairarapa Times-Age is the only daily newspaper based in Masterton. Formed by a merger between the Wairarapa Age and the Wairarapa Daily Times on 1 April 1938, The Wairarapa Times-Age has an audited paid circulation of 5,427. The Wairarapa Times-Age is owned by Andrew Denholm of National Media Limited. NZME Publishing Limited sold the business, which includes the Wairarapa Midweek and TA Property papers in June 2016. Andrew Denholm was the previous general manager. Seamus Boyer is current editor. The Wairarapa Midweek, a weekly community paper with an audited circulation of 21,186, is distributed every Wednesday along with the TA Property. The Wairarapa Times Age building at 70 Chapel Street no longer holds the presses, and the space was used by the nascent Masterton Fab lab which has now relocated to UCOL.
Fairfax NZ owned The Dominion Post is widely circulated in the Masterton district. The Wellington-based metropolitan daily newspaper has an office, Media House, at 123 Chapel Street in Masterton. The Dominion-Post has an audited paid circulation of 55,496.
Masterton is serviced by one local radio station. Wairarapa's MORE FM 89.5 or 105.9 for the coastal frequency. MORE FM broadcasts locally from 6am to 10am daily from studios in Kuripuni. The station was founded by controversial Broadcaster Paul Henry, as TODAY FM 89.3 in Carterton in 1991. Later the station was rebranded as Hitz 89FM, Wairarapa's Best Music. The MORE FM Breakfast Show has been hosted by well-known local broadcaster Brent Gare, since 2004. The Saturday sports show at 8am has been hosted by local sports-caster Chris "Coggie" Cogdale since 1992.
Television coverage reached Masterton in 1963, after the Otahoua transmitter east of the town was commissioned to relay Wellington's WNTV1 channel (now part of TVNZ 1). The town was early receiving television since the Otahoua transmitter was required to repeat the signal from the Mount Victoria (and later Mount Kaukau) transmitter in Wellington to the Wharite Peak transmitter near Palmerston North (also commissioned in 1963). Digital terrestrial television (Freeview HD) was introduced to the Masterton area in July 2011, in preparedness for the area's digital switchover in September 2013. The service broadcasts from the Popoiti transmitter, south of the township.
Masterton's water is piped from the Waingawa through a Masterton District Council treatment plant on the river about 10 kilometres west of the town. The water is clarified and filtered then chlorinated and fluoridated. Lime is added to neutralise the pH to protect the pipes. There is a fluoride-free drinking water tap in Manuka Reserve in Manuka Street.
Typhoid epidemics broke out each year in Masterton and in 1896 Parliament approved a Borough Council loan to build a drainage and water supply system. Work on the water supply did not begin until 1899 delayed by disagreements over the appropriate sources for water. It was finished at the end of 1900 when at the formal opening ceremony there was enough pressure to send a jet right over the Post Office tower to the accompaniment of the Masterton Municipal Brass Band. The mayor, Mr Pownall, said he was now ready to pour cold water on the scheme's opponents. A covered reservoir and treatment plant at Fernridge was supplied by an intake from springs beside the Waingawa four miles further up river. The main was duplicated in 1915. It was replaced by the current system completed in 1983.
The sewage system was completed in 1901. It drained through settlement ponds and filter beds to the Ruamahanga south of the town. The sewage farm's system included a newfangled "septic tank" which was subject to failures.
The Wairarapa Electric Power Board was established in Carterton in 1920[note 1] to supply the Wairarapa with electricity from the Kourarau hydro power station at Gladstone, southeast of both towns. Masterton was connected to Mangahao on 17 May 1925 when the transmission line from Bunnythorpe to Masterton (via Woodville and Mangamaire) and the Masterton substation were commissioned. The Wairarapa Electric Power Board moved to headquarters in Masterton in the 1950s. The power board, then named Wairarapa Electricity, dissolved following the 1998 electricity sector reforms. The retail business was sold to Genesis Energy and the distribution lines business sold to Powerco. Today Powerco continues to operate the local distribution network in the town and surrounding district with electricity fed from Transpower's national grid at its Masterton substation in Waingawa.
Masterton Gas Company was established by the Borough Council in 1886 by the corner of Bannister and Kirton Streets. About 20 years later it was moved to the end of Bentley Street just south of the railway station. The large quantities of coal were brought in by rail. By 1945 it had become clear consumers preferred electricity and the gasworks closed in the 1950s.
There is no natural gas network in Masterton, making it the largest North Island urban area without one. There has been no more than a proposal to connect Masterton to the North Island natural gas network via a branch off the Palmerston North to Hastings high-pressure pipeline commissioned in 1983.
The Masterton magneto telephone exchange opened on 31 January 1897, with 53 subscribers. On 31 May 1919, Masterton became the first town in New Zealand to have a fully automatic (Western Electric 7A Rotary) telephone exchange.
Before the 1991 to 1993 changes, the area code for Masterton was 059. Today the area code is 06, and numbers generally begin with 370, 372 (rural areas), 377, 378 and 946. Numbers beginning 946 are businesses.
Masterton is very well served by public transport with rail and bus links. Despite Masterton and the Wairarapa valley being reasonably close to Wellington, they are separated by the Rimutaka Ranges with State Highway 2 cutting a winding hill road through the range, and the Rimutaka railway tunnel. The Wairarapa Line railway allows access to Wellington, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt.
Unlike other parts of the country, the Wairarapa has seen passenger rail services remain, largely due to its proximity to Wellington and the Rimutaka Tunnel's advantage over the Rimutaka Hill road. There has been talk of constructing a road tunnel through the ranges for decades, but this has been ruled out due to the extremely high cost. According to the latest transportation plan from the Greater Wellington Regional Council, the only work planned is for upgrades to the Rimutaka Hill road and the addition of passing lanes between Featherston and Masterton.
Masterton is linked to Wellington and the Hutt Valley by the Wairarapa Connection, a Tranz Metro passenger service run for Greater Wellington Region's Metlink, primarily operating at peak times serving commuters from Masterton and the Wairarapa with five return services on Monday to Thursday, six on Friday and two at weekends and public holidays. There are three railway stations in the town; Masterton, Renall Street and Solway. Four stations north of Masterton used to operate at Opaki, Kopuranga, Mauriceville and Mangamahoe. Services to these stations ceased between 1969 and 1988. To cope with an increase in logging in the Wairarapa, an additional 2.5 hectare rail freight hub is due to be operational in Norfolk Road, Waingawa by March 2016.
|Metlink Bus Services||Termini|
|Masterton – Church Street|
Worksop Road (Woolworths)
Masterton South & East
|Masterton – Church Street|
Masterton – Church Street
Masterton – Lansdowne Circuit
|Masterton – Church Street|
Worksop Road (Woolworths)
There is also the MPN: Masterton to Palmerston North (via Woodville) service, not operated under the Metlink brand.
Hood Aerodrome is 2 miles southwest of the town of Masterton. As of 2015, there are no commercial flights from Hood Aerodrome. From early 2009 until late 2013, Air New Zealand provided flights to Auckland, operated by subsidiary Eagle Airways six days a week, mainly to serve business customers in the Wairarapa. There have been a few other unsuccessful attempts at commercial air travel in Masterton, mostly failing due to its proximity to major airports in Wellington and Palmerston North. The most significant was by South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand (SPANZ), which operated daily flights using DC3s during the sixties to destinations nationwide until the airline's closure in 1966.
Queen Elizabeth ParkEdit
Queen Elizabeth Park covers more than 20 hectares (50 acres) near the heart of Masterton on land set aside for the purpose in 1854. Its most notable aspects are the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) trees planted in 1875, its other mature trees, and sheltered oval cricket ground. Queen Elizabeth came to Masterton Park in 1954 to be noisily welcomed by the mayor and the citizens and every schoolchild of the Wairarapa. After that she rested at the Empire hotel, waved to the crowd from the balcony and graciously gave her own name for the park.
The park contains a miniature railway, built by the Jaycees and opened in 1972 by Norman Kirk. It has a single station, Waipoua, and is upkept by a group of volunteers. A ride on the train costs $1, a fare that has been unchanged since 1984. The line has a steam locomotive, restored in 2021, which formerly operated at Gisborne and at Caroline Bay, Timaru, where a steam locomotive was operating in 1942. The locomotive's origin is unknown, though it is similar to many Atlantic steam engines built by Bassett-Lowke from 1911.
|Masterton Miniature Train Route|
- Sylvia Ashton-Warner
- Mary Gertrude Banahan
- Barry Barclay
- Harold Barrowclough, Chief Justice of New Zealand
- Amanda Billing
- Roger Blackley, art historian
- Constance Bolton, artist
- Russell Calvert, politician
- Ted Chamberlain, plant pathologist
- Jemaine Clement, actor, comedian and musician
- Wyatt Creech, politician
- Helen Cowie, Doctor
- Ian Cross, novelist
- Barry Dallas, medical practitioner and politician
- George Davis-Goff, naval officer
- Haddon Donald, soldier, businessman and politician
- Pat Evison
- John Falloon
- Bill Francis
- George Groombridge
- Christopher Hodson
- Alexander Hogg, newspaper editor and politician
- Thomas W. Horton, RAF officer
- Raybon Kan, writer and stand-up comedian
- Ladyhawke, singer-songwriter
- Jack Lewin, prominent public servant
- Sir Brian Lochore, All Black
- Alan MacDiarmid, Nobel Prize winning chemist
- Ron Mark, soldier and politician
- Harold Miller, librarian
- David Nicholson, Australian politician
- Susan Parkinson, nutritionist
- Edwin Perry, politician
- George Petersen, historian
- Arthur Prior, logician and philosopher
- Ian Prior, doctor and epidemiologist
- Frances Rutherford, artist
- Brad Shields. Rugby player
- Campbell Smith, playwright
- Harold Smith, politician
- J. Valentine Smith, landowner
- Olive Rose Sutherland, teacher
- Ivan Sutherland, ethnologist
- Selina Sutherland, nurse, founder of Masterton Hospital
- Bill Tolhurst, politician
- Elwyn Welch, farmer, ornithologist, conservationist and missionary
- Aaron Slight, World Superbike motorcycle racer
Masterton has sister-city relationships with:
- With nine members, two from Masterton Borough and one each from Carterton Borough, Greytown Borough, Featherston Borough, Martinborough Town District and portion of Masterton County, a portion of Wairarapa South County, and a portion of Featherston County. Wairarapa Age, 10 April 1920, page 4
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- Masterton District Council accessed 30 November 2018
- Wairarapa Daily Times 22 September 1896 Page 2
- Evening Post 20 October 1899, Page 6
- Wairarapa Daily Times 21 December 1900, Page 2
- Wairarapa Daily Times, 22 June 1901, Page 2
- Wairarapa Daily Times, 13 August 1903, Page 2
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In their report to Transit the consultants contend tunnels would be an excellent service linking Featherston with Upper Hutt but costs would rule them out as a viable, economic option.
- "Greater Wellington Regional Council Wairarapa Corridor Plan, December 2003" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2005.
- "New Masterton rail freight hub opens in 2016". DieselTalk. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
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- "Full steam ahead for miniature train". Trust House. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
- "Masterton Miniature Train Society - August 1972 - Opening Day - Former rail worker and future Prime Minister Norman Kirk brings DG755 into the station". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
- "Miniature steam train hits the tracks in Masterton's QEII park". Stuff. 20 January 2022. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
- "Masterton Miniature Train Society". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
- "Masterton Miniature Train Society - 1958 - Timaru. During its years in Timaru "Atlantic" usually ran on a fairground railway at Caroline Bay, but has been photographed running in other locations. This photo is believed to be at the A&P Showgrounds near Smithfield". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
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