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Our quiet achiever to the south

By Seamus Boyer

[email protected]

There’s a bit of buzz about the region’s towns at the moment, a lot of it linked to the property market.

It’s hard to ignore the fact that house prices are on the up, and in some places, such as Greytown, up a lot.

A Times-Age story on Saturday pointed out that for many real estate agents, Carterton is the next place to boom.

It’s got good rail access – much better than Greytown’s – and traditionally low house prices mean the town is ripe for first-home buyers priced out of other markets around the country.

However, if you ask Carterton Mayor John Booth, or his predecessor Ron Mark, and they would say they’ve been saying how great the town is for years.

But while Carterton and Greytown may be the obvious movers at the moment, there’s another quiet achiever to the south that seems to be going great guns.

I’m talking, of course, about Featherston.

The town has plenty going on, and plenty more on the way.

For one, the look of the place has greatly improved since the completion of the town (circle) square.

And right next door, between the square and the supermarket – another development is on the way.

A group of developers has bought the land and intends to design and build a retail, hospitality and possibly accommodation complex on the section.

Add to this the looming reopening of the town’s famous Royal Hotel, and things seem to really be happening.

With the announcement of each new enterprise, new confidence in the town will follow.

Business chases business, and the more good stores and places to eat and drink there are, the better.

Pretty soon you’ll be able to stop for a pint of craft beer, have lunch in a great little cafe, buy some artisan bread and some gourmet cheese, then eat it while relaxing in a lovely public square.

Sound like any other town 12km further up the road?

With thousands of vehicles passing through the town every day, all of these additional reasons to stop will start to have an effect.

For too long Featherston has been trailing around a bit of baggage, a lot of it undeserved.

Pretty soon it could be a real destination for Wellingtonians and other visitors.

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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