South Wairarapa District

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South Wairarapa District
Territorial authority of New Zealand
Location of South Wairarapa District
Country  New Zealand
Region Wellington
Seat Martinborough
 • Mayor Adrienne Staples
 • Total 2,484.55 km2 (959.29 sq mi)
Population (June 2014 estimate)[1]
 • Total 9,910
 • Density 4.0/km2 (10/sq mi)
Time zone NZST (UTC+12)
 • Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
Postcode(s) 5710, 5711, 5712, 5740, 5741, 5742, 5771, 5772, 5773, 5781, 5782, 5783, 5784, 5794
Area code(s) 06

South Wairarapa District is at the south-east tip of the North Island of New Zealand.


South Wairarapa includes three towns and several localities that have a wide range of economic activity, natural features, and visitor attractions, only a few of which are noted here. Martinborough is the seat of the SWDC and is a nationally important wine-producing area. The town's central streets form a Union Flag pattern. Greytown is where Arbor Day was first celebrated in New Zealand). Featherston has a museum displaying the world's only Fell Locomotive Railway Engine.

Because of South Wairarapa's proximity to the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington, there are close links between the two areas. For example, some people live in South Wairarapa and commute to Wellington each day to work; others live and work in Wellington while spending weekends in South Wairarapa.


The topography of South Wairarapa includes the floodplain of the Ruamahanga River and the associated Lake Wairarapa, as well as the long southern stretch of Palliser Bay. To the west of the plains rise the eastern slopes of the Rimutaka Range, the crest of which forms the western boundary of the district, while the Aorangi Range lies to the southeast. The southernmost point of the North Island, Cape Palliser is in the South Wairarapa.

Local and regional government[edit]

The South Wairarapa District Council (SWDC) is the territorial authority responsible for the area. For the purposes of local government, Wairarapa is divided into the Masterton district, the Carterton district, and the South Wairarapa district. For the purposes of regional government, Wairarapa is included in the Wellington region along with Kapiti, Porirua, the Hutt Valley, and Wellington, and governed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

2013 local body elections[edit]

In July 2013 a controversial spoof video titled "Hitler loses the plot with the three Wairarapa mayors" was posted to YouTube mocking the three Wairarapa Mayors Gary Daniel, Ron Mark, and Adrienne Staples for their preference of a Wairarapa Unitary Authority, and their perceived lack of evidence to support it being viable. It was created by re-dubbing the subtitles from the 2004 German war film "Downfall". The 3 minute long video went viral primarily around the Wairarapa and was reported on in the local newspaper and nationally on news website Stuff.[2] In the newspaper article, Adrienne Staples (Mayor of South Wairarapa ) threatened to sue the suspected creator for defamation, and engaged lawyers to see YouTube remove the video.[3] As of 29.09.13 the video was still available on YouTube.[4]

The Wairarapa Working Party (proponents of Unitary Authority) of whom South Wairarapa Mayor Adrienne Staples is a part of, has attracted controversy, with GWRC Chair Fran Wilde saying the three Wairarapa Mayors have been "less than honest" on their portrayal of other governance options[5] and previous Wairarapa mayors voicing concern too.[6] In May 2013 it was alleged a member of the Wairarapa Working Party had threatened and intimidated the Chairman of Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, and other members of the same group, over its lack of support for the proposed Wairarapa Unitary Authority.[7] Anti-Unitary Authority lobby group Better Wairarapa claimed in the same article that the Wairarapa Working Party had taken an "autocratic approach" to decision making within the Wairarapa Working Party.[8]

Other information[edit]

Shibboleth: Some New Zealanders refer to "The Wairarapa", rather than just "Wairarapa", and this usage carries over to the constituent parts of the district. Thus, South Wairarapa is sometimes referred to as The South Wairarapa.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°21′22″S 175°22′19″E / 41.356°S 175.372°E / -41.356; 175.372