South Wairarapa District

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South Wairarapa District
Official logo of South Wairarapa District
Location of South Wairarapa District
Country New Zealand
 • MayorAlex Beijen
 • Deputy MayorGarrick Emms
 • Total2,484.55 km2 (959.29 sq mi)
 (June 2020)[1]
 • Total11,400
 • Density4.6/km2 (12/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
5710, 5711, 5712, 5740, 5741, 5742, 5771, 5772, 5773, 5781, 5782, 5783, 5784, 5794
Area code(s)06
WebsiteDistrict Council

The South Wairarapa District is an area at the south-east tip of the North Island of New Zealand governed by the South Wairarapa District Council. The district comprises the southernmost part of the Wairarapa, and is part of the Wellington Region.


The district comprises 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 Remutaka 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.

While it is predominantly rural, the South Wairarapa includes three towns. The largest town, and seat of the district council, is Martinborough; the town is the centre of a nationally important wine-producing area. The second largest town in the district, Greytown, is where Arbor Day was first celebrated in New Zealand). The Fell Locomotive Museum in the third town, Featherston, has a museum displaying the world's only Fell locomotive.

It is expected that the number of people living in the district's urban areas will increase over the coming years due to increasing property prices in Wellington proper, and the proximity to transport links.[2][3]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [4]

South Wairarapa District had a population of 10,575 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 1,047 people (11.0%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 1,683 people (18.9%) since the 2006 census. There were 4,335 households. There were 5,271 males and 5,307 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.99 males per female. The median age was 47.1 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 1,917 people (18.1%) aged under 15 years, 1,314 (12.4%) aged 15 to 29, 5,025 (47.5%) aged 30 to 64, and 2,319 (21.9%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 90.5% European/Pākehā, 14.2% Māori, 2.2% Pacific peoples, 2.5% Asian, and 1.9% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 17.2%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 55.6% had no religion, 33.4% were Christian, 0.3% were Hindu, 0.1% were Muslim, 0.6% were Buddhist and 2.6% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 2,070 (23.9%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 1,599 (18.5%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $32,900, compared with $31,800 nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 4,239 (49.0%) people were employed full-time, 1,446 (16.7%) were part-time, and 237 (2.7%) were unemployed.[4]

Individual wards
Name Population Households Median age Median income
Greytown Ward 3,588 1,467 50.1 years $33,800
Featherston Ward 3,276 1,350 44.4 years $28,200
Martinborough Ward 3,711 1,515 46.5 years $35,800
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800
Individual statistical areas in South Wairarapa district (2018 census)[5]
SA2 name Population Dwellings Median age Median income
Aorangi Forest 1,464 1,110 46.5 years $37,000
Featherston 2,487 1,170 43.8 years $25,600
Greytown 2,466 1,236 51.5 years $32,200
Kahutara 1,035 507 41.1 years $41,000
Martinborough 1,767 1,059 49.3 years $33,200
Tauherenikau 1,353 633 47.5 years $37,200


Bank of New Zealand building in Greytown

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 Wairarapa Line, part of the Metlink public transport network for the Wellington region, passes through the district (which is served by the two stations of Featherston and Woodside) and provides a faster method of transport into the city than the Remutaka pass road. Metlink buses also provide services to Greytown and Martinborough from the railway stations and Masterton.

Local and regional government[edit]

The South Wairarapa District Council is the territorial authority responsible for the area. The council consists of nine councillors; the current mayor is Alex Beijen.[6] The three towns also have their own community boards.[7]


  1. ^ "Population estimate tables - NZ.Stat". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. ^ Macdonald, Nikki (May 2018). "Featherston: from bleak town to boom town". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ Fuller, Piers (15 July 2018). "High cost of Wellington living forces students into long commutes". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. South Wairarapa District (050). 2018 Census place summary: South Wairarapa District
  5. ^ "2018 Census place summaries | Stats NZ". Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  6. ^ "Contact a Councillor". South Wairarapa District Council. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Council Committees and Working Parties" (PDF). South Wairarapa District Council. 22 November 2000. Retrieved 23 July 2018.

External links[edit]

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