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Martinborough a top pick this summer

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

With Wairarapa in full summer holiday mode, some may wonder where the region’s hot spot is this year.

Martinborough has been named the eighth most “enquired destination” in the country this year, up two spots from last year, according to Trade Me. It follows behind such kiwi favourites as Queenstown, Mt Maunganui, Wanaka and Lake Tekapo.

Martinborough is the only Wairarapa town to make it on the list, and has had that distinction for the past three years.

Like most of Wairarapa, Martinborough is growing as a go-to destination for Kiwis and travellers and this summer more than usual. A combination of strategic marketing to further afield New Zealand, and a boost in social media has attracted the curious to visit.

Jeff Hunkin, Trade Me spokesman, said the town is creeping up the list this year, up from 10th last year and a double run at 9th the two years prior.

“Martinborough has remained in our Top 10 for the last four years, receiving a similar number of enquiries to Ohakune and Taupo,” he said.

“There’s a lot to love about Martinborough and we see enquiries pick up particularly around popular events like Toast Martinborough and Round the Vines.”

David Hancock, Destination Wairarapa’s general manager, said it is really pleasing to see such a result from hard promotional work.

“We [the region] are seeing an increase, we are certainly pushing into Auckland, we are having a big drive on getting Aucklanders to fly down to Palmerston North and come through Wairarapa,” he said.

He said Aucklanders are told of deals available on coming to Wairarapa.

“They say ‘oh that’s where that Martinborough is’ or ‘that’s where that Masterton is’. It’s just constantly repeating that message and giving them something else to talk about, that’s what the plan is.” Mr Hancock said.

What is happening now is people aren’t just going to Martinborough for the award-winning wine, but for the retail and bike riding around the vineyards as well. They are also making the most of exploring coastal Wairarapa and the other towns.

“The thing that is going on in Martinborough, being a tourist town, is for them to be open as often as possible and preferably seven days a week, that is what encourages these people to come and  to know they can come at any time and make the most of it,” Mr Hancock said.

Trish Higginson, founder of Martinborough Village website and Facebook, gets calls every day asking for recommendations of restaurants and accommodation in the town and area.

In two years Mrs Higginson has noticed social media is an effective way of putting Martinborough before the public.

“It’s fantastic, it’s one of our goals to showcase Martinborough as a holiday destination,” she said.

“Social media has been a great phenomenon for people to come and see us because they want to know the local stories.”

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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