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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 2018)[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 2018).[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] Murdoch James,[11] Ata Rangi,[12] and Escarpment.[13] 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[14] 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.[15]


The town offers education at a primary level at Martinborough Primary School, which contributes to the roll of Kuranui College. The international cooking school Le Cordon Bleu, in partnership with UCOL, said that it would open its first New Zealand campus in Martinborough by 2009, but they have now changed the venue to Wellington instead, upsetting many who looked forward to the economic boost this would have provided to the town.[16]

Notable residents[edit]

Mustering Toast Martinborough 2011
Flocked Toast Martinborough 2011


  1. ^ a b "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-18 (2017 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  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".
  11. ^ "Murdoch James".
  12. ^ "Ata Rangi".
  13. ^ "Escarpment".
  14. ^ "Martinborough Information Centre". Archived from the original on 2005-02-05.
  15. ^ "Martinborough Brewery".
  16. ^ 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]