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Wharekaka (Māori)
Martinborough's Memorial Square
Martinborough's Memorial Square
Martinborough is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 41°13′8″S 175°27′33″E / 41.21889°S 175.45917°E / -41.21889; 175.45917Coordinates: 41°13′8″S 175°27′33″E / 41.21889°S 175.45917°E / -41.21889; 175.45917
Country New Zealand
Territorial authoritySouth Wairarapa District
 (June 2019)[1]
 • Total1,680
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s)06

Martinborough (Māori: Wharekaka) is a town in the South Wairarapa District, in the Wellington region of New Zealand. It is 65 kilometres east of Wellington and 35 kilometres south-west of Masterton. The town has a resident population of 1,680 (June 2019).[1]

The town is home to the South Wairarapa District Council.

History and culture[edit]

European settlement[edit]

John Martin is regarded as the town’s founder and set out the first streets in the pattern of the Union Flag[2] in the 19th century. Before Martinborough was established the southern part of the region was known as Waihenga, a point that seems to be lost at times in the history of the district. A feature is the colonial architecture, one example of which is the historic Martinborough Hotel, built in 1882.

Prior to the expansion of viticulture, Martinborough was largely a rural service town for nearby farms.


The local Hau Ariki Marae and Te Whare Wananga o Tupai meeting house are affiliated with the Ngāti Kahungunu hapū of Ngāti Hikawera o Kahungunu.[3][4]


Martinborough township and surroundings viewed from near the top of Rapaki Hill
Martinborough Rodeo 2016

Martinborough has a large number of vineyards producing wines, notably Pinot noir. Martinborough has a warm micro-climate, with hills to the east and west. Almost all the vineyards are in thin ribbons around the northern and eastern sides of the town, and on the Dry River to the south. All follow dry riverbeds, which provide appropriate soils for viticulture.

Notable wineries include Schubert Wines,[5] Te Kairanga, Tirohana Estate, Palliser Estate Wines,[6] Dry River, Martinborough Vineyard,[7] Murdoch James,[8] Ata Rangi,[9] Craggy Range,[10] and Escarpment.[11] During November, the region's wines are celebrated in the Toast Martinborough wine festival. This event temporarily enlarges the population by 10,000.

Other industries around Martinborough focus on traditional beef and sheep farming; growing olives, lavender and nuts; and fishing at the coast settlements of Ngawi and Cape Palliser. Tourism is an important industry for the town, and the information centre[12] is a good source of advice about accommodation, activities, wineries and where to eat.

There are numerous options for accommodation, from casual B&Bs to a five-star hotel. A small number of wineries and specialist tour operators offer vineyard tours, while there are many dining opportunities at wineries, or at the cafés and restaurants dotted around the attractive village square. A vibrant shopping precinct exists with boutique shops. It is also home to the Martinborough Brewery.[13]


Martinborough School is a co-educational state primary school for Year 1 to 8 students,[14][15] with a roll of 260 as of March 2020.[16]

The nearest high school is Kuranui College.

The international cooking school Le Cordon Bleu and UCOL considered establishing a campus in Martinborough by 2009. They eventually opted to open a campus in Wellington instead, disappointing locals who were hoping it would provide an economic boost to the town.[17]

Notable residents[edit]

Mustering Toast Martinborough 2011
Flocked Toast Martinborough 2011


  1. ^ a b "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2019". Statistics New Zealand. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". Te Puni Kōkiri.
  4. ^ "Māori Maps". Te Potiki National Trust.
  5. ^ "Schubert Wines".
  6. ^ "Palliser Estate Wines".
  7. ^ "Martinborough Vineyard".
  8. ^ "Murdoch James".
  9. ^ "Ata Rangi".
  10. ^ "Craggy Range Martinborough". Archived from the original on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  11. ^ "Escarpment".
  12. ^ "Martinborough Information Centre". Archived from the original on 2005-02-05.
  13. ^ "Martinborough Brewery".
  14. ^ "Martinborough School Official School Website".
  15. ^ "Martinborough School Ministry of Education School Profile". Ministry of Education.
  16. ^ "Martinborough School Education Review Office Report". Education Review Office.
  17. ^ Ford, Gerald (2008-05-08). "Give us our money back, says MP". New Zealand Herald. Wairarapa Times-Age. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2016-08-02.

External links[edit]