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Welcome sign return closer

It’s been four years since Featherston’s “welcome” signs were taken down after safety concerns were raised.

Now, their reinstatement is edging closer with a resource consent lodged with New Zealand Transport Agency [NZTA] Waka Kotahi.

The concrete, stone, timber, and steel signs were installed in 2017 at the northern and southern entrances to the town.

But they were taken down in 2020, despite there being full consultation and several site visits from NZTA and the council prior to installation.

Former South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] chief executive Harry Wilson said at the time that the problem had come to light after NZTA carried out an audit “looking at safety treatments down State Highway 2”.

“And then it was blindingly obvious that this was something that should not be there, so we both agreed that we needed to fix it,” Wilson said previously.

The structure’s concrete base was not “frangible”, meaning it wouldn’t disintegrate on impact if struck by a vehicle.

SWDC has since been liaising with NZTA on behalf of the Featherston Beautification Group, which is driving this initiative to try to resolve the issues and come to a solution to get the signs reinstated.

The work has also involved the suppliers of the sign material and an engineer.

In her latest report to SWDC, chief executive Janice Smith said the resource consent proposed a new location to accommodate the southern sign further back from State Highway 2 than it was previously.

“The resource consent has been submitted to NZTA, and we are awaiting their decision, which will be returned by mid-March.

“Alternative options that have been considered include moving the northern sign to an adjacent property, although this would reduce the visibility of the sign and require discussions with the landowner.

“Another option is a proprietary sign system, and while this would meet safety concerns, it would significantly change the design.”

Smith said it is likely NZTA will be able to consider each sign separately on the consent and therefore give approval to one sign at a time as opposed to them having a linked approval.

“We are hopeful that the signs will be approved by NZTA so the Featherston Beautification Group can proceed with the sign’s reinstatement.”


Public Interest Journalism funded
through NZ On Air


  1. Removed for road safety? What a nanny state you should not be driving if you can’t see that? It’s like taking cyclists off the road for safety. bring back commonsense CRAZY 🤪.

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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