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Year in Revew: September 2023

The Times-Age reported on a meeting
held by a group of representatives from Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa councils who looked at options for closer cooperation, a burst of strong winds which ripped through the region, causing widespread havoc, and Featherston resident and favourite children’s author Joy Cowley has a popular town’s playground named after her.

September 1

Masterton Mayor Gary Caffell called out what he characterised as “increasingly aggressive and threatening behaviour being directed at council staff”. The number of incidents reported ranged from abusive behaviour to feeling at risk of assault through to actual assault, with 55 as of September, compared to 31 during all of 2020.

After a year of roadworks between Carterton and Masterton, the main construction of the SH2 safety improvements was finished, with most traffic management restrictions associated with the works being removed, improving traffic flow.

Greytown loose forward Tana Isaac became the oldest debutant in the green and red of Wairarapa-Bush when he took the field against Horowhenua-Kapiti. Isaac, who turned 43 in September, was named on the bench, and it was 22 years since he last tasted first-class rugby as a winger for Manawatu against Hawke’s Bay, a side which included Copthorne Wairarapa-Bush coach Reece Robinson.

September 5

A working group of representatives from Masterton District Council [MDC], Carterton District Council [CDC], and South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] met to look at options for closer cooperation. However, MDC Mayor Gary Caffell and CDC Mayor Ron Mark have since confirmed their councils were in ongoing merger talks that SWDC was currently not committing to.

Wairarapa Montessori Preschool on Lincoln Rd has had its licence suspended by the Ministry of Education, the second Montessori preschool in Masterton to be shut down in the past month.
The Ministry found the centre to be non-compliant with health and safety requirements in the areas of child protection, safety, checking of staff, emergency planning, providing foods that pose a high risk of choking, no evidence of training provided to staff about administering medications, and heavy furniture, fixtures and equipment that could cause serious injury or damage.

A man was been sentenced to home detention for breaking a protection order and punching his 11-year-old child. William Terrence Wichman, a 41-year-old chef, appeared in Masterton District Court having admitted to contravening a protection order, assault, and resisting police.

September 6

Eketāhuna resident Robin Oliver was tired of having to replace his signs opposing Meridian Energy’s proposed wind farm on Mt Munro, after they had been ripped down twice. “They had disappeared completely – been smashed off. The screws were still on the post,” Oliver said.

Of 217 submissions received on Carterton District Council’s draft speed management plan, 27 were confirmed to be heard in person. The agenda showed about one-third of in-person submitters wanted speeds reduced, with the rest opposed.

September 8

An online scammer who deceived people into paying deposits for fake iPhones was been sentenced to community detention. Justyn Rose-Anderson, an unemployed 22-year-old from Feilding, appeared in Masterton District Court having admitted to charges of theft, obtaining by deception, and unlawfully interfering with a motor vehicle.

September 11

Carterton District Council pulled the plug on its proposed cycleway connecting the town’s schools and parks due to a lack of community consensus.

Thousands enjoyed the beautiful sunshine yesterday, flocking to Carterton for the annual Daffodil Festival. While visitors to Middlerun Farm in Gladstone were unable to pick their own daffodils due to fewer blooms than usual, pre-picked bunches were available for sale at the farm. The festival had a record 145 market stalls, the Wai Art Show at the events centre, food trucks, and horse cart rides. The famous Daffodil Express heritage steam train with sixteen passenger cars, clocked in at 300m in length, taking hundreds of out-of-town festival goers on a return trip from Wellington.

September 12

Despite being gutted by fire, a Martinborough house is still standing, thanks to a quick response from local brigades. The owner of the Dublin St house called 111 shortly after midnight on Sunday morning after a faulty panel gas heater caught fire. Martinborough’s brigade responded before the incident was upgraded to alert level two, with more crews assisting from Greytown, Featherston, Carterton, Masterton, Remutaka, and Trentham. A Fire and Emergency Spokesperson said it took the team of over 20 firefighters an hour to get the blaze under control.

September 14

With pāua limits for recreational divers cut in half for the summer, the question of why in Wairarapa was been posed by many. The new limit – which came into effect at the start of September for the central and lower North Island – was decided by Fisheries New Zealand after consulting with the public. This consultation indicated support from local recreational fishers, community members, and tangata whenua who reported low pāua stocks.

September 15

Carterton District Council agreed to sell the weather-damaged Salvation Army building and Belvedere Hall. The council unanimously decided to sell the two buildings, having consulted with the community in June.

September 18

Strong winds ripping through the region have caused havoc and sent a range of items – including fences, satellite dishes and roofs – sailing through the air. The strength of the storm was so great that Waka Kotahi closed the Remutaka Hill SH2 road, citing the gale-force winds.

A woman who strangled and threatened to kill her mother has been sentenced to intensive supervision after spending a combined nine months in custody and on electronically monitored bail. Stasia Janka Polaczuk, a 48-year-old Carterton woman, appeared in Masterton District Court on Friday for sentencing, having admitted to charges of strangulation, assault, and threatening to kill.

Tararua District received a share of $1 million from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ $35.4 million package to support the recovery of rural communities affected by North Island weather events, including Cyclone Gabrielle. The fund went towards helping with the urgent maintenance of Tararua District farms impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.

September 19

Wairarapa hunkered down as overnight gusts of more than 200kmph buffeted the region, and fire crews from Masterton and Castlepoint dealt with a burning power pole in Mataikona that had been sparked by the wind.

One person was been flown to hospital in a serious condition, and two other people received minor injuries after a two-vehicle crash on Kitchener St, Martinborough at 3.55pm yesterday. A Fire Emergency Service crew member said one vehicle failed to give way on Princess St.

September 20

While tourism businesses across the country experienced a drop in spending by domestic tourists during July, expenditure by Kiwi visitors to Wairarapa enjoyed an increase in that same period.

September 21

Masterton District Council approved the construction of the Eastside Link cycleway, which will start at the Kuripuni shops and finish at the netball courts on Colombo Rd. The full route will run from the Kuripuni shops, down Kuripuni St past the back entrance of Chanel College, along Mākoura Rd past Mākoura College, then up Johnstone St, and onto Colombo Rd to the netball courts. It will feature a combination of on-road bi-directional and single-lane cycle lanes and shared space on footpaths.

September 22

Police received reports of a car passing multiple cars on yellow lines on SH2 from Masterton to Carterton at 5.30pm on Wednesday night. A spokesperson for police said the driver stopped at New World Carterton car park and proceeded to get out of the vehicle for a time before jumping back into the vehicle and fleeing police. Continuing to evade police, the driver was last seen on Garrison St. The vehicle was not found afterwards, the spokesperson said.

September 25

Despite police crackdowns on boy racers in Wairarapa, drivers again caused havoc on the road at the intersection of Longbush Rd and Millars Rd. Boy racers spent 15 minutes tearing up the road – leaving burnt rubber and tyre marks all over the road earlier this month.

UCOL Te Pūkenga Wairarapa is celebrating a significant increase in course completion rates of ākonga Māori [Māori learners]. A recent RNZ report showed that university completion rates have dropped nationally, with larger drops for ākonga Māori and Pasifika. But UCOL Wairarapa has bucked the nationwide trend and started to close the completion rate gap between ākonga Māori and non-Māori with an improvement of 18.17 per cent over the past three years.

September 26

A resident on Perry St was assaulted on Saturday night when he complained to neighbours about a party at which partygoers were doing burnouts in six cars. Residents said a housewarming party a few houses down from them swiftly turned into “a burnout scene”, during which the six vehicles involved burned all the rubber on their tires down to the rims. Rocks and gravel were hitting a residents house as the vehicles did burnouts on the street.

September 27

The Ministry of Education appointed a commissioner to replace the board of trustees of Mākoura College after it voted in favour of having the school’s board dissolved. Mākoura College was informed last week that a commissioner would be stepping in and covering the duties of the school’s board.

September 28

Bad weather didn’t deter farmers’ protest group Groundswell NZ from convoying through the region with its ‘Drive 4 Change Tractor March’ yesterday. Approximately 50 people in tractors, utes, and cars took part in yesterday’s protest against increasing government regulations imposed on farmers and food producers.

A man who has appeared in court 15 times was sentenced to six months in jail, taking into account his 74 prior convictions. Owen Collyns-Aislabie appeared in Masterton District Court, facing four charges relating to theft, dishonesty, and breaching supervision.

September 29

A much-loved New Zealand writer and local literary icon was honoured by having a children’s playground named after her. Featherston resident and children’s author Joy Cowley was delighted by the decision the town’s local playground would soon have her name. The playground is popular with children in the area and boasts a flying fox, climbing gear, a seesaw, picnic tables, and a range of fun equipment for children of all ages. Cowley will be able to add the playground naming to her other awards, which include the Order of New Zealand and the Order of the British Empire.

September 30

Police reported that the region’s vehicle crime incidents had recently dropped by half, partly due to placing youth offenders in a 12-week mentoring programme. The latest statistics showed that only 30 cases of vehicle-related crime were reported to police in the past six weeks.

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