Main Births etc
Location of Masterton District in Wellington Region
Country  New Zealand
Region Wellington
Territorial authority Masterton District
Town founded 1854
Electorate Wairarapa
 • MP John Hayes (National)
 • Mayor Lyn Patterson
 • Territorial 2,299 km2 (888 sq mi)
Elevation 111 m (364 ft)
Population (June 2012 estimate)[1]
 • Territorial 23,500
 • Density 10/km2 (26/sq mi)
 • Urban 20,300
Time zone NZST (UTC+12)
 • Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
Postcode 5810
Area code(s) 06

Masterton (Māori: Whakaoriori[2]) is a large town and local government district in the Wellington Region of New Zealand. It is the largest town in the Wairarapa, a subregion separated from the Wellington region cities by the Rimutaka ranges. It is 100 kilometres north-east of Wellington, 28 kilometres south of Eketahuna, on the Ruamahanga River.

Masterton is a thriving community with an urban population of 20,300, and district population of 23,500 (June 2012 estimates).[1]

The Wairarapa Line railway allows many residents easy access to work in the cities of Wellington, Lower Hutt, and Upper Hutt.

Local industries involve "service industries" for the surrounding farming community. Industrial development is growing in Masterton, with three new industrial parks being developed in Waingawa, Solway and Upper Plain. The town is the headquarters of the annual Golden Shears sheep-shearing competition.


Despite the fact that Masterton is a town, not a city, it is still home to many suburbs. These include:

  • In the north-eastern part of town: Opaki, Lansdowne, and Te Ore Ore.
  • In the eastern part of town: Eastside and Homebush.
  • In the western part of town: Upper Plain and Akura.
  • In the southern part of town: Kuripuni and Solway.


Named after pioneer Joseph Masters, Masterton was first settled by Europeans on 21 May 1854. It gained borough status in 1877.[3] 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.

The Wairarapa Line railway opened to Masterton on 1 November 1880.


At the 2006 census, Masterton District had a population of 22,623, an increase of 6 people, <0.1 percent, since the 2001 census. There were 9030 occupied dwellings, 1248 unoccupied dwellings, and 123 dwellings under construction.[4]

Of the population, 10,869 (48.0%) were male, and 11,754 (52.0%) female.[4] The district had a median age of 40.4 years, 4.5 years above the national median age of 35.9 years. People aged 65 years and over made up 16.8% of the population, compared to 12.3% nationally, and people under 15 years made up 21.3%, compared to 21.5% nationally.[4]

Masterton's ethnicity was made up of (national figure in brackets): 77.9% European (67.6%), 16.9% Maori (14.7%), 1.7% Asian (9.2%), 2.7% Pacific Islanders (6.9%), 0.26% Middle Eastern/Latin American/African (0.9%), 12.1% 'New Zealanders' (11.1%), and 0.05% Other (0.04%).[4]

Masterton had an unemployment rate of 4.8% of people 15 years and over, compared to 5.1% nationally.[4] The median annual income of all people 15 years and over was $21,700, compared to $24,400 nationally. Of those, 46.7% earned under $20,000, compared to 43.2% nationally, while 12.3% earned over $50,000, compared to 18.0% nationally.[4]


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
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 24.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.1
Average low °C (°F) 11.8
Rainfall mm (inches) 44.4
Avg. 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
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[5]

Golden Shears sign.


Between 1877 and 1989, Masterton Borough Council governed the area. An early mayor was the storekeeper Myer Caselberg (1886–1888).[6]

The Masterton District Council (MDC) governs the Masterton District territorial authority. It is made up of an elected mayor, a deputy mayor/councillor, and 9 additional councillors. They are elected under the First Past the Post system in triennial elections, with the next election being held on Saturday 12 October 2013.

The Mayor of Masterton and five of the councillors are elected at large, while one councillor is elected from the Rural Ward (outside the Masterton urban area), and four are elected from the Urban Ward (Masterton urban area).

As of January 2013, the current council members are:-[7]

Mayor Garry Daniell
Councillors – General Jane Terpstra (Deputy Mayor)
Judith Callaghan
Pip Hannon
David Holmes
Chris Peterson
Councillors – Rural Graham McClymont
Councillors – Urban Doug Bracewell
Gary Caffell
Jonathan Hooker
Lyn Patterson

2013 local body elections[]

Template:Undue-section 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.[8] 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.[8] As of 29.09.13 the video was still available on YouTube.[9]

The Wairarapa Working Party (proponents of Unitary Authority) of whom Masterton Mayor Gary Daniel 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[10] and previous Wairarapa mayors voicing concern too.[11] 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.[12] 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.[12]


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 integrate primaries: St Patrick's, a Catholic contributing primary, and Hadlow, an Anglican full primary.

Masterton Intermediate School, with 400 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).



Times-Age offices and printing works

The only daily newspaper based in Masterton is the Wairarapa Times-Age, formed by a merger between the Wairarapa Age and the Wairarapa Daily Times on 1 April 1938. The Times-Age circulates throughout the greater Wairarapa region. The current senior management is Andrew Denholm, commercial manager, Louise Clark, advertising manager, Dave Saunders, editor and Kim Hildred, circulation and newspaper sales manager. The Times-Age also published Wairarapa Midweek, a weekly community paper circulation 19,000. The Wairarapa Times-Age is part of the APN newspaper group.


The Masterton telephone exchange opened in 1897 with 53 subscribers. On 31 May 1919, Masterton became the first town in New Zealand to have a completely automatic (Rotary) telephone exchange.

Masterton and nearby Carterton were the first towns in New Zealand to introduce the emergency number 111, in September 1958.[13]

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. 946 numbers are companies only.

Radio Stations[]

Masterton is serviced by two local radio stations. Wairarapa's 89.5 / 105.5 / 105.9 MORE FM Wairarapa broadcasts locally from 6am to 1pm 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. Classic Hits 90.3 has a local breakfast show Mon to Friday 6 - 10am hosted by Jordan Brannigan, at all other times a network feed is taken from Classic Hits Auckland.


In 2007 there were two wireless internet service providers based in Masterton, providing high speed broadband access to the towns and rural areas of the Wairarapa. WISE Net (purchased by Orcon Internet Limited in 2006, and in January 2007 Canning & Associates purchased Orcon WiseNet Wireless Network) and WIZwireless LTD formerly Canning & Associates. ADSL access is widely available.


Masterton is serviced by all the major national television channels, although Four is not available on analogue . The main television transmitter for the town, and most of the southern half of the district, is the Otahoua transmitter atop Bennett's Hill, north-west of the town. TV3 transmits from the Popoiti transmitter east of Greytown. In the northern half of the district, Palmerston North's Mount Wharite transmitter provides the television service. Satellite television, both free-to-air and pay television, is available to all residents.

Digital terrestrial television (Freeview HD) was introduced to the Masterton area in July 2011, in preparedness for the digital switchover, which is due to take place in September 2013 for the area. The service broadcasts from the Popoiti transmitter, necessitating Masterton residents to rotate their UHF aerials to pick up the signal from Popoiti instead of Otahoua, and in some cases, replace them to pick up the signal from a longer distance.[14]


Masterton is very well served by public transport with rail, bus and air 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. 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.[15] According to the latest transportation plan from the Greater Wellington Regional Council,[16] 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 Yak-52s
Wings over Wairarapa airshow 2007

There is a local Metlink bus service in Masterton operated by Tranzit. The buses operate on five routes: three suburban and two regional [1] including:

Metlink Bus Services Termini
Route 200
Wairarapa Hospital
Featherston Station
Route 201
Masterton West
Masterton – Church Street
Worksop Road (Woolworths)
Route 202
Masterton South & East
Masterton – Church Street
Masterton – Church Street
Route 203
Masterton – Lansdowne Circuit
Masterton – Church Street
Worksop Road (Woolworths)
Route 205
Featherston Station

There is also the MPN: Masterton to Palmerston North (via Woodville) service, not operated under the Metlink brand.


Hood Aerodrome is south of Masterton. From early 2009 Air New Zealand provides flights to Auckland, operated by subsidiary Eagle Air six days a week, mainly to serve business customers in the Wairarapa.[17] There have been a few unsuccessful attempts at commercial air travel in Masterton, mostly 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.

Sister cities[]

Masterton has Sister City relationships with:

See also[]

  • Masterton Railway Station
  • Renall Street Railway Station
  • Solway Railway Station


  1. ^ a b "Subnational population estimates at 30 June 2012". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.  Also "Infoshare; Group: Population Estimates - DPE; Table: Estimated Resident Population for Urban Areas, at 30 June (1996+) (Annual-Jun)". Statistics New Zealand. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "List of Place Names". Māori Language Commission/Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1897). "Brough Of Masterton". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Wellington Provincial District. Wellington: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Quickstats about Masterton District
  5. ^ "Climate Data". NIWA. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Christensen, Margaret. "Myer Caselberg". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Councillors". Masterton District Council. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ "Fiftieth anniversary of 111 emergency service" (Press release). Beehive. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2009. 
  14. ^ Crombie, Nathan (dmy 16 September 2010 , [[{{{3}}}|{{{3}}}]]). "Town may get HD television". Wairarapa Times-Age (Masterton: APN News & Media). 
  15. ^ Farmer, Don (23 May 2008). "Rimutaka road tunnels back on the agenda". Wairarapa Times-Age (Masterton: APN News & Media). Retrieved 4 February 2012. "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." 
  16. ^ "Greater Wellington Regional Council Wairarapa Corridor Plan, December 2003" (PDF). Retrieved 5 September 2005. 
  17. ^ "Air NZ announces Masterton-Auckland route". Fairfax New Zealand. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2009. 

External links[]

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Coordinates: 40°58′S 175°39′E / -40.967, 175.65

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Masterton. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.