Greytown Heritage Trust byline



Discover a world of flourishing history and timeless beauty on the inaugural Greytown Heritage House & Garden Tour.


The Greytown Heritage Trust proudly presents this self-guided tour, unveiling eleven remarkable properties - many opening to the public for the first time. Spend a summer day exploring the gems of this picturesque town, renowned for its charming homesteads - all while supporting the preservation of our beloved heritage.


A fundraiser for the restoration of Greytown's historic Kōuka Cottage (c.1860) at Stella Bull Park, 113 Main St. Read more here.



1st November 2023

on Eventfinda

Limited number available!

Kōuka Cottage and a House and Garden Tour


A little beyond Kōuka Cottage and at the forecourt of Tui Garage, you might have pulled-in to fill your motor on your southward journey from Greytown. Photographs show four fuel bowsers of the kind that were oddly human in form – a large round head bearing the petroleum logo and the fuel line and trigger serving as an arm akimbo. The garage is long gone, supplanted with the grand White Swan Hotel that made an epic journey, in several parts, over the Remutakas.


The garage has gone but not the garage owner’s home for the first three years of married life; Kōuka Cottage still stands at 113 Main Street. Tui Morgan, unsurprisingly proprietor of Tui’s Garage, was a speedway champion; a photograph has him supporting his Harley Davidson, the brand emblazoned across his chest – a small reminder that insignia on clothing isn’t new.


Passing-by, within a few years, you might have strained to identify the muffled, crackling, vaguely off-station sound of early radio broadcasts. This was also the home of the first wireless in Greytown. Lives lived so centrally on Main Street.


Kōuka Cottage, built somewhere around 1860, was named for the stands of tī kōuka (cabbage trees) that stood at its frontage. The cottage was possibly built for the gardener associated with the neighbouring, now gone, Kempton / Dunn residence. Modest to the point of reticent, the cottage gives a pause in style and scale on Main Street. It is a building that is so much more than its humble structure.

For many years, the cottage was rented from the Council. In 1997 its ownership passed to the Greytown Heritage Trust for the princely sum of $1.00. And some conditions. As a heritage property of significance in the townscape, there was much love and structural care needed. A small forward addition was removed to retrieve the integrity of the almost classic miner’s cottage appearance – a full width porch was reinstated. The building has been repiled, the roof fettled, the chimney strengthened.


The side profiles of the building are almost original in their detail but what isn’t, and what the Greytown Heritage Trust wants and needs to attend to, is the back extension which is in a poor physical state and is a later addition of unknown history. As accommodation it services the building badly. Plans are in place for a sensitive rebuilding of that small part of Kōuka Cottage.


So, to the fund-raising. The Greytown Heritage Trust has put together a self-guided tour on February 4 2024, unveiling eleven remarkable properties, many open to the public for the first time. A quality keepsake folding map & information poster is part of the entry and tickets are available on eventfinda under Greytown Heritage House and Garden Tour. It’s a pleasurably original Christmas present for family or friends. A present that will make a difference to our heritage.


Read more about the House and Garden Tour

Greytown Heritage Trust considers the
South Wairarapa District Plan


Greytown is unique. An accident of history ensured that many of our earliest buildings survived intact. We live in the shade of emblematic trees amidst New Zealand’s first planned town; although we might rue the loss of indigenous foliage. A town in a setting that enjoys the theatre of the Tararuas and the eastern hills, and the incisions of significant rivers. Our responsibility for conservation is profound. Strategic planning is critical – shaping the day-to-day of those that live here, the pleasures for the footfall of visitors, and safeguards a legacy; sensitive and intelligible. Our social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being is ensured through a comprehensive and effective long-term strategy.


The South Wairarapa District Council have tabled the third phase of the Proposed Wairarapa Combined District Plan 2023, inviting feedback; a summarised version of the plan can be found here. Critically, for the the Greytown Heritage Trust, is the proposal that the commercial town centre develops northwards.  Discussion and evidence in planning literature suggests that ribbon development is often economically and environmentally incompetent – making commercial viability sometimes harder, chewing up the character of neighbourhoods.   Increasingly, contemporary town planning looks to intensify the existing footprint, rather than reaching out to cannibalise new margins of residential or open land.

The proposal undermines propositions to cluster the town centrally – to give it a heart of activity that is easily accessed on foot; to foster a convivial, busy ambience. Extending the “high street” strip puts residential sites on the fringes at risk of being transfigured and heritage character being stripped away. A vision of the town’s cohesion was modestly, but inspirationally, begun with Max Edridge’s placement of the Town Hall at the core, with the buildings adjacent set back to form a sense of a town square; a plan not yet fully realised.  Latterly there have been developed proposals in the proposition For the Love of Greytown shaped by Adam and Millie Blackwell, Gina Jones, (GHT), Nick Rogers, Charles Kaka (Pāpāwai) and Councillor Martin Boseley.  The core drive is to intensify the town, to knit the expansion and human activity closer.

The Trust believes that extending Greytown’s town centre in the SWDC proposal disregards the Strategic Direction – UFD-05 Vibrant Town Centres.


The compactness of Greytown works; palpably evident when we celebrate events. Having access to West Street (as Truck Stop can) provides enhanced safety and operational opportunity. The compact Greytown centre already shapes a vibrant hub. Consolidating this further would be enrichment.


We’d encourage you to dialogue with us; let us know your thinking and responses.  We encourage you to engage directly with SWDC through submissions. Contact us with your thoughts at

Visual of Greytown town planning

The Greytown Heritage Trust
Annual Address
October 2023


Returning to live in his boyhood home of Greytown, Sir Kim Workman has embraced an extraordinary career encompassing many aspects of criminal justice, exercising a distinguished public service including time with the Office of the Ombudsman, State Services Commission, Department of Maori Affairs, and Ministry of Health.  Pertinently for us, he undertook a review of the then Historic Places Trust.


Sponsored by a generous and thoughtful Greytown Landmark Trust grant, Sir Kim presented the Heritage Trust Annual Address in October, reflecting on te ao Māori, cultural perceptions of heritage and the gauntlet challenges and opportunities in a bi-cultural engagement with our past and future. A Koha was made to Papawai Marae on Tā Kim’s behalf.

Sir Kim Workman:  Dreaming, plotting and planning – a Greytown boyhood


The past is another country: they do things differently there.  Or so L.P. Hartley wrote in his novel The Go Between.  In te ao Māori there’s a challenge; the shared whakataukī is kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua: ‘I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past’.  Here, the past, present and future coalesce and become intertwined, and life is experienced as a real and reflective relationship between all humanity and all history.


In the Greytown Heritage Trust Annual Address 2023, it is te ao Maori and the notion of heritage that Tā Kim Workman will explore and consider.


At one level the past, present and future are explicitly part of Tā Kim Workman’s relationship with this town.  He returned to live here last year having left at 17 years old.  Born in 1940, we’ll leave you to count on your fingers, the years away.


Coming back has given him a tangible appreciation of the places that are todays' heritage sites.  These were the places that formed part of the village in the 1940s , and hold memories of people who were part of his early life.  Alongside this, Tā Kim’s awareness of histories has heightened and he observes that we all have a different perspective about why particular sites are significant; and that when we share those perspectives, their full meaning is revealed.


Perhaps in this we begin to give histories and landscape and buildings and monuments their deserved mana? In the official list that identifies our most significant historic heritage places by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, there’s a hefty slew in favour of Pākehā heritage.

Less than 10 percent of the list identifies Māori heritage, and around 80 percent of the list embraces buildings.


Tā Kim talks of the intertwined relationship of place and whanau of his childhood.  Friday nights over a beer or two, his grandparents and six of father’s siblings, eating home-roasted peanuts and reshaping the politics of the nation.  Meanwhile, he could roam the town freely, seemingly known by everyone; dropping in on uncles, aunties, cousins; the rituals of an unfettered childhood.


Greytown was a village more rural, more bucolic than it perhaps is now.  At the rear of his family home was a large barn-like building that Tā Kim’s father had built. The red-stained timber had come from the Aotea meeting house at Pāpāwai Pā, after it blew down in a 1934 gale. Aotea had been built in the 1890s to house the Māori parliament and the Kotahitanga movement. Tā Kim knew little of that then, but escaped to the pleasure of its attic, important, safe, encased within the walls – this, he says, was where his dreaming, plotting and planning took place.  It was, also, where heritage incidentally knitted history into a personal present.

The Woolworths NZ / Fresh Choice Hearings: Monday 2 and Tuesday October 2023


Greytown Heritage Trust contributed to the Hearing for the Woolworth New Zealand / Fresh Choice Planning Application.  The event was well attended with the Commissioner, Lindsay Daysh, commenting on the numbers and, in his summary remarks, thanking people for the quality of their thinking and response.  He had also noted the passion. The Heritage Trust Chairperson, Carmel Ferguson, gave a full contextual coverage of our position and concerns, while Gina Jones reported in detail about the challenges in the application including critical heritage issues, safety concerns, access and the health of the trees on site.  Notes about the arboreal status of the trees were shared on behalf of the arboreo-cultural expert, Ritchie Hill.


Speakers included residents, community representatives and officers from Waka Kotahi and the South Wairarapa District Council.  There was a strong consensus between individuals and agencies in their resistance to the plans.


In closing and in a brief verbal response, Woolworths NZ representatives asked for leave to consider the issues raised over the two days and to address those directly in writing.  The Commissioner agreed to a deadline of 20th October and his decision will subsequently follow, when he has had time to assimilate and arbitrate on the submissions.

Calendar Dates


The days are beginning to stretch and the landscape’s early risers are breaking bud, give or take the odd rogue plants that seem to have bungled their memory of seasons and flowered promiscuously in late autumn, rather than at the burst of spring.  The Greytown Heritage Trust is also unfolding from the winter and signalling a number of projects and activities for the near future.


The Fresh Choice planning application (22081)

You’ll possibly be aware that the Greytown Heritage Trust undertook consultation, reflection and work to prepare a submission to the South Wairarapa District Council on the proposals from Woolworths NZ for the Greytown Fresh Choice supermarket.


The Hearings will be held on

Monday 2 October- WBS Room, 89 Main Street, Greytown

Tuesday 3 October - Kiwi Hall, 62-64 Bell Street, Featherson


People who have made a submission (including Greytown Heritage Trust) and who are intending to call expert evidence, will need to provide that evidence to the SWDC by 5pm on Friday 22 September 2023.


Heritage House and Garden Tour: 
Fundraising for Kouka Cottage


Celebrating remarkable houses and gardens of this town, the Heritage Trust is hosting tours of selected properties on February 4th 2024, Waitangi Weekend. A popular holiday weekend, the Sunday following Saturday’s Martinborough Fair, there will be activity for locals and visitors alike. This event, a self-guided tour, is a fundraiser to upgrade and address maintenance issues parts of Kouka Cottage at 113 Main Street.


Kouka Cottage was built around 1860 and purchased in 1997 in a derelict state for a whole $1.00.  Modest to the point of being unassuming, it’s nonetheless a notable punctuation mark in an architecturally rich Main Street.  The wee cottage harbours a wonderfully chequered history that includes, within the 20th century, being home to Speedway motorcycle legend, Tui Morgan, and claims that another tenant is thought to have had the first wireless radio in Greytown.  The renovation, important and sensitive, will be a notable further accomplishment in fostering the architectural heritage of Greytown.

Will Holmes – Born 3 May 1937

Died 10 August 2023


Dragging a decrepit steam-driven car out of the tangle of grass in a paddock, Will Holmes set to on an early project for himself which was a fastidious rebuild of the vehicle in his admirably outfitted and tooled garage. Its final notable blue livery, fully functional and accurate in its detail was a testimony to the patience and persistence that coloured Will’s life. It prefigured a yen for vintage cars, mainly the Austin marque.


Will Holmes was born in the Bay of Islands, but there was a transient childhood in early years as his father chased railway jobs around the North Island, including time in Taihape. The family hauled up finally in Cross Creek, below the rugged Wairarapa slopes of the Remutaka Hill. A junction for the steam trains that in those days laboured the inclines on what has now become the cyclists’ and walkers’ joy of the Remutaka Rail Trail. Indeed, Will’s father was to take the last ever locomotive over the hill and back to Wellington.


Rising early to clear possum traps, Will made an early living at just 12 years old selling furs to fund his ambition to be a carpenter; hand tools and a shed in the garden were the products of a motivated lad. Following the rounds of traps, he journeyed an hour each way to Wairarapa College. Landing a Ministry of Works’ apprenticeship, he triumphantly left school for his new working life only to be turned back because the conditions of the contract were that he complete two years at secondary school. He had just eighteen months under his belt and returned, ruefully, to the classroom.


Will Holmes was a significant builder in the Greytown area. The beginnings were in a modest partnership with Graeme Rigg to form HR Builders in 1957, the company later morphed several times to become Will Holmes Ltd, Holmes Construction Group and latterly amalgamated two companies, formed previously under the Holmes brand, to become Holmes Construction New Zealand. It has been a business that has stayed in the family. Ben, Will’s nephew, is current CEO and Will’s sons previously had the reins following their father’s retirement.


Will Holmes was a very significant contributor to Greytown. Four life memberships of community organisations are testimony to this. He died a life member and Patron of the Rugby Club. A life member of the South Wairarapa Workingmen’s Club (with a double entitlement to such an affiliation by both length of membership and honorary award). He was an ally and life member of Cobblestones Museum, served with the Greytown Heritage Trust and maintained a lifetime membership with the Vintage Car Club.


Will died just three weeks after his beloved wife of forty years, Ruby. His first wife, Linnie, mother to his children, continues to live in Masterton. Reflecting on his father’s life, Will’s son described a man having an incredible way about him; a man who tangibly loved his family and community; a man who was a great conversationalist and an absolute gentleman. He was, says Andy his son, just a good bastard. Hear the utter affection and deep regard in those words.


Greytown Heritage Trust/Te Pouhere Taonga O Kuratawhiti Woolworths New Zealand Ltd Application  - 134 Main Street


Many thanks for the feedback and for the number of new Trust memberships that followed last month’s Greytown Grapevine front page article.


The 1950s house on the 134 Main Street site was built by Arthur and Irene Woolcott. Arthur had a carrier trucking business and was a Greytown Borough Councillor for six years. He then became the Borough Foreman in January 1972, a position he held till the end of 1976.


There’s a lovely story about Betty Thompson, nee Humphries (Stella Bull’s sister), being the person who planted or gave the copper beech at 134. However, it’s more likely that it was planted by the Woolcotts. At least we know this splendid tree is over 70 years old!


There was a major review of all the heritage listed trees in South Wairarapa (strictly speaking of the Notable Tree Register which is part of the Wairarapa Combined District Plan) two years ago. The copper beech at 134 Main Street was not nominated for inclusion. The Trust understands this was because the owner’s agreement was not given. Last year this writer, on behalf of the Trust, nominated the tree for inclusion in the Register – this is now part of the District Plan Review/ submissions consideration.

We invite Woolworths NZ, as a sign of good faith and respect for the values of the Greytown community, to agree to the inclusion of the copper beech in the Register of Notable Trees for South Wairarapa.

Trust Membership


Greytown’s heritage, notably its Victorian buildings and significant trees, is what the Greytown Heritage Trust values and champions.  Our heritage attracts people to visit, play, stay and live here.  If you are interested in our heritage and would like to support the Trust’s work in advocacy, promotion and protection, please support us.


Membership rates are $20.00 for a single person, $30.00 for a couple and $30.00 for individual businesses.  You can pay on-line through Internet Banking:  Greytown Heritage Trust, Account 03 0609 0090667 00. Please include your last name in the reference field;  ‘individual’, ‘couple’, ‘business’ or ‘donation’ in the particulars field; and phone number in the code field.  We will then contact you for your first name(s) and address for your receipt.


A strong base of subscribing members is vital for the Trust, enhancing credibility with submissions.  Please join us as a financial member.  We’re ever grateful to the many people who are already members.


Carmel Ferguson

Chairperson Greytown Heritage Trust

021 925 573


Miriam Hill's sketch of Kouka Cottage fundraising for Greytown Heritage Trust


Kouka (Cabbage Tree) Cottage was built c.1860 and was purchased by the Greytown Heritage Trust in 1997. You can purchase these delightful items in Greytown at Grand Illusion, and Hall & Saunders on Main Street.

Kouka Cottage gifts
A volunteer working at the Garden Party
Visitors at Cobblestones enjoy the Garden Party
A coupel enjoying the Garden Party at Cobblestones
Guests enjoy the Greytown Heritage Trust's Garden Party and Art Auction
Alisoun Werry receives her Honorary Life Membership of The Greytown Heritage Trust
A busy volunteer at the Garden Party

The pictured significant building was originally built on West Street around 1891 as a Masonic Lodge and its imposing front entrance retains Masonic symbols. The Lodge was moved to its current site in Stella Bull Park on 3 November 1979, by the former Greytown Borough Council.  It was then converted for use as the Town’s Library, with alterations designed by Trevor Daniell. The photo above shows some fine details added in the conversion; note the porch with its imposing finial, the hoods over the windows. The building is currently untenanted and has been advertised for lease by Council.


Recently the Greytown Community Board approved its Greytown Community Board Plan – January 2023 – June 2024. See page 10, the Board will ‘Advocate for the First Masonic Hall building in Stella Bull Park to return to being Greytown Library and community services allowing the Town Hall to return to being an event and activity space.’


We note the Greytown Archives are located in the Greytown Town Centre and managed by the library staff. There is also useful storage space under the library area accessed from the ground level. In addition there is off-street parking for library users, including a dedicated disability car park.  Parking space at the old library site is at a premium and when it was used as a library, the White Swan hotel wasn’t nearby. In addition, there’s a ‘vulnerable’ nearby pedestrian crossing on Main Street (amplified by safety concerns over the Woolworths’ – Freshchoice development proposal).


The Trust’s Board of Trustees

All previous trustees with the exception of Frank Minehan made themselves available again and were re-elected at the April AGM. They are joined by new trustee Peter Rowlands. So the current Board is: Carmel Ferguson (Chair), Robyn Blue (Secretary), Sylvia Smith (Treasurer), Gina Jones, Craig Thorburn, Lorraine Hall, Danielle Genty-Nott and Peter Rowlands.


Trust Membership

Greytown’s heritage, especially its Victorian era buildings along with its beautiful trees, is what the Greytown Heritage Trust believes makes our town so special, if not unique. Our heritage attracts people to come and live, play and stay here. If you enjoy reading about our heritage and would like to support the Trust, advocating for and protecting it, please support us. Membership is $20 per person or $30 for a couple. You can pay online by internet banking: Greytown Heritage Trust, Account: 03 0609 0090667 00 – please include your first and last name as reference also a contact phone number.

Having a strong base of financial members is vital to the Trust – it gives us greater credibility with our submissions. Please join up as financial members now! Thank you to all those who already have. Kia ora.

Thanks for reading. Hei konā rā

Frank Minehan –



Fresh Choice Supermarket proposed entrance, Greytown

Woolworths are the applicant for the latest FreshChoice Supermarket development proposal which seeks to use their 134 Main Street site as a vehicle entrance for huge trucks approaching from the south and other trucks and customers also able to enter from either direction off Main Street. A large free standing ‘FreshChoice’ sign is proposed as well.

 In their April 2023 re-application, Woolworths clearly state that the magnificent Copper Beech tree on Main Street is to be retained and protected from any potential harm from vehicle or foot traffic passing near to if not over its root system.


Woolworth’s April 2023 development proposal says the retention of the Copper Beech would mitigate or offset any adverse impacts of the development on the heritage precinct and streetscape character of this part of Greytown.  Woolworths are seeking consent for the demolition of the 1950s house presently on the site. They would build a canopy over the existing loading bay which would be visible from Main Street. So keeping the Copper Beech would, at least partially,  ‘screen’ the visibility of the loading bay area from the footpath, at least while the tree is in leaf!


However, on 27 April 2023 Woolworths applied to the South Wairarapa District Council for a ‘Certificate of Compliance Application, Proposed Tree Removal, 134 Main Street.” This comes as a bombshell to the Greytown Heritage Trust and no doubt all residents! The proposed tree for removal would be the historic Copper Beech on Main Street which we believe is a valuable part of our heritage and a significant feature of that part of the Greytown Heritage Precinct.


Please Explain Woolworths – Given Your RMA Section 139 Application Many of Us Honestly Believe You Are Not Acting In Good  Faith


It is incomprehensible to us that Woolworths would even consider removing the Copper Beech given their partial reliance on its retention for overall success with their development proposal.  Maybe Woolworths just want to legally ‘cover all bases’ as some sort of insurance policy! Whatever, our view is that this is a potential “PR” disaster on Woolworth’s part of epic proportions – many of Greytown’s  citizens probably now genuinely believe the tree is to be cut down soon. It’s likely that Woolworths have lost the trust of the town, even from those previously inclined to support the development.


Greytown Heritage Trust Submission On Woolworth’s April 2023 Fresh Choice Development Re-Application


The Trust continues to strongly oppose the application. Its opposition is grounded primarily on the following concerns, the same as with the 2022 Woolworths application:

• Public safety  with huge trucks entering off Main Street as well as other trucks and cars are entering 134 over the footpath near the pedestrian crossing from either direction;

• The proposed sign on Main Street still does not comply with long-standing Council and District Plan guidelines and is to be sited over a water race;

• The method of lighting of the sign is unclear and we have concerns about adverse effects on the ‘dark sky’;

• Adverse visual effects/impact on the streetscape and the Heritage Precinct if the house presently on site is demolished, the loading bay exposed with a large canopy built over it clearly visible from Main Street;

• Concerns for the survival of the heritage Copper Beech tree on Main Street.

Space restrictions do not allow the writer to do justice to the Trust’s comprehensive and compelling submission. Our draft submission will be on our website by the time you read this article. Submissions close with Council on 23 May at 4pm.


Please write a submission yourself  or put one in supporting the Greytown Heritage Trust one – Use the short Form 13 available at the Greytown library or download it from Council’s website.






Public Meeting 7pm

Thursday 11th May

Working Men's Club


Yet again, Fresh Choice Woolworths is pursuing their application for an accessway on Main Street to the supermarket for the delivery of their stock.


They have lodged a Publicly Notified application which means there is limited time to respond and make objections


To do this they will:


• Demolish the house at 134 Main Street


• Remove entirely the Copper Beech tree (at 134 Main Street) - see Wairarapa Times Age Tuesday 2 May


Public Meeting on Thursday 11th May at 7pm at the Working Men’s Club:


• Come and hear the details and the reality of Fresh Choice Woolworth’s amended application


• Have your say and ask questions of the speakers including the Greytown Heritage Trust


• There will be advice available on completing a submission against the proposal & signing the petition

Mayor Martin at Greytown Dog Park

Carlos Couldn’t Make it but Mayor Martin Connolly Gave a Well Received Presentation at the Trust’s AGM on 20 April.

The Trust was delighted Mayor Martin and Mayoress Tania Connelly were present at the AGM. Both are Trust members. Martin’s presentation Fifty

Shades of Grey was very topical and insightful with respect to his goals as mayor and his heritage retention priorities. The Trust is grateful for Martin’s advocacy and support for heritage issues.  Information about trustees and office holders will be provided in the next Greytown Grapevine and will also be put on our website.


Trust Membership

Greytown’s heritage, especially its Victorian era buildings along with its beautiful trees, are what the Greytown Heritage Trust believes makes our town so special if not unique! Our heritage attracts people to come and live, play and stay here. If you enjoy reading about our heritage and would like to support the Trust advocating for and protecting it, please support us. Membership is $20.00 per person or $30.00 for a couple. You can pay online by internet banking: Greytown Heritage Trust, Account: 03 0609 0090667 00 – please include your first and last name as reference.


Having a strong base of financial members is vital to the Trust – it gives us greater credibility with our submissions. Please join up as financial members now! Thank you to all those who already have. Kia ora.

Thanks for reading. Hei konā rā

Frank Minehan

Greytown Heritage Trust concerned with future of historic Sacred Heart Church on Main St


Tenders for the purchase of this gorgeous Greytown Heritage building and land closed on 31 January 2023. By the time you read this article Sacred Heart’s fate may be known:

• sold and the church building to be re-located;

• land sold and building to be demolished;

• sold but church to be retained -  restored as home or ‘suitable retail outlet’?

• None of these?


The timing of the sale/tender over the summer holiday season hasn’t helped efforts to save Sacred Heart. The Trust did what it could to alert key people in the Wairarapa Community with the hope that a sympathetic ‘developer’ or entrepreneur would purchase with restoration/retention of the Church and its interior as a priority .

   We feel a grassroots campaign/organisation arising from the Greytown Community, as is happening in Kahutara over their St Francis Church, is the best prospect of saving Sacred Heart at this late stage. The Trust would fully support/do all it can to help a grassroots/spontaineous Community initiative. The Trust might also consider taking nominal ownership of the Church for the Community, but there would need to be a large financial contribution behind the project and clear directions given about its future useage.

   It is understood the vendor had a sale price expectation of around $700,000, the value of the property being held in the land and its location.

   Sacred Heart Church is located on a prime corner site in the heart of Greytown’s Heritage Precinct. It is a charming 19th century building with beautiful stained glass windows, including a quatrefoil rose window. The noted Wellington architect Thomas Turnbull designed Sacred Heart which opened on Christmas Day 1880. In 1957 the main part of the Greytown Courthouse was added to the church as a transept. This later addition also has a set of stained glass windows.

   AG Bagnall’s Old Greytown doesn’t give any information about the history of the land Sacred Heart was built on. However, Pat Ward’s article Greytown Catholic Centennial Celebrations written in November 1980 is helpful. I found Pat’s article in an undated publication called Memories of South Wairarapa. This was a Featherston Publishing Committee book compiled by Coralie A Price around 1981. It appears Sacred Heart is on an original Greytown Small Farm’s Association Public Utility Town Acre, Lot 30. The section seems to have have been bought by the Catholic Church’s Wellington Diocese in 1865 for 20 shillings (one pound in other words!).  That appears to have been the standard price set by the Small Farms Association in 1853-54 for a town acre in Greytown or Masterton. Hugh O’Connor, a prominent land owner at the time, leased the property until the church was built on it.

   This great little treasure has no Heritage New Zealand/Pohere Taonga listing. However, it is recorded as a notable building in the heritage listings which are an appendix to the Wairarapa Combined District Plan.


Sunday 15 March, from 3pm – 5.30pm

Our fundraising event which coincided with the Trust’s jubilee was held in brilliant weather in the grounds of Cobblestones Museum on Sunday 15 March.  A huge thank you to all those who helped make the day such a success; the wonderful artworks sold well, thanks to our generous bidders; the presentation of an Honorary Life Membership to founding trustee
Alisoun Werry was a highlight.
Nga mihi nui.


Jeremy Salmond speaking to Greytown Heritage Trust

An eminent New Zealander presents their research to the public each  October, hosted by the Trust. Read our previous presentations here.

Historic home of Maata Mahupuku, Greytown

Recent Lost Greytown 19th Century Heritage
at St. Luke’s Church


The parish of St Luke’s applied for a resource consent to demolish/remove the church hall which we assume was granted by Council. The buildings in question were recently pulled down/removed. The Trust wrote a very detailed comment to the Planning Department at Council opposing the proposed demolition/removal of the hall. The hall was built in the early days of the parish in the 19th century and was originally its Sunday School. The photo shows the small stand alone building with the sash window which was situated by the hall’s toilet (facing Church Street and the former play area). This building actually came from Greytown’s Main and West Streets Courthouse complex (c 1883 – 84). It probably came to St Luke’s in 1957 and was used for storage. What did St Luke’s do with this little stand alone Court heritage building?  Next time you are in Cobblestone’s Museum please check the model display of 19th century Greytown and the court house complex– you may even spot the little courthouse gem!

Historic home of Maata Mahupuku, Greytown

Maata Mahupuku’s former home –
46 Kuratawhiti Street Greytown – ‘Elmwood’


There wasn’t enough space for the above beautiful photo in our June 2022 Greytown Grapevine article about 46 Kuratahwhiti Street and Maata Mahupuku!

Greytown Memorial Park cricket pavillion

Reg Stapleton’s Greytown Cricket Pavilion in
Greytown Soldiers’ Memorial Park, Kuratawhiti Street


R C Stapleton FNZIA, a former Hutt Valley based architect and onetime Greytown resident, died earlier this year. Reg was a long time member of the South Wairarapa Bridge club and a cricket lover. We understand he designed the Greytown Cricket Club Pavilion without charging fees to the club.


Greytown’s Holmes Construction Ltd. built the pavilion which was formally opened  on 3 October 1992 by John Garrity, South Wairarapa District Council’s first mayor and a Greytown resident. So the pavilion’s innings as a heritage building is relatively short but nonetheless noteworthy, in the Trust’s view. While being of modest size and a very functional building, the pavilion has attractive features such as the verandah/posts, flag pole, picket fence and of course the turret! The club itself was founded in 1867.

Second New Sign at Papawai Marae


Congratulations again and thank you Papawai Marae for this new sign at the Papawai Urupā (below). Rangiurunga Urupā was established in the 19th century by various rangatira of the hapū of Ngāti Moe and those living at Papawai. The sign makes special acknowledgment of Papawai people who passed in the great influenza epidemic starting in 1918 and to toa/warriors who died in various battles, including of course World Wars One and Two. Lamb Peters Print expertly produced the sign. Thanks also to the outgoing Greytown Community Board/Ann Rainford chair, for your support/input into this heritage project. Kia ora koutou katoa.

Update:  Woolworths NZ  - Fresh Choice Resource Consent Application for a Development at 134 Main Street Greytown


Please read the Trust’s detailed objection to the application which we sent to the Planning Department at South Wairarapa District Council in July 2022 here.


Special Council Commissioned or Requested Reports


Please note that the application is strictly speaking about two resource consents with respect to the proposed large sign on Main Street and one for demolition of the existing house/structures on site. Having said that, traffic implications and pedestrian safety are huge factors to consider, as well as the impact of the proposed development on the arguably unique Main Street Heritage Precinct landscape and not forgetting the survivability of the possibly 80 year old Copper Beech tree (if the development is approved). The proposed sign far exceeds the dimensions provided for in the signage guidelines sanctioned in the District Plan.


Harriet Fraser Review of Transportation Matters Council Report


Harriet is an Engineering and Transportation planning expert. She considered the initial application and specialist traffic report in support of it and further information from the applicant’s traffic consultants dated 18 August 2022. She continues to have concerns with regard to the application. I quote: ‘For me the greatest concerns are for pedestrian safety along the footpath and across the proposed driveway and also for pedestrians on the zebra crossing. I would not support the proposal in its present form.’ I assume Harriet means that the application from Woolworths be declined as it is.


Ian Bowman Heritage Impact Asessment of the
Proposed Woolworths-Freshchoice Development


Ian is an architect and conservator based in Nelson. He was commissioned by Council to do this Assessment. Woolworth’s NZ had provided an Urban Design and Heritage Assessment prepared by Richard Nott with their application. Ian Bowman also recommended that the proposal be declined. I assume he meant that the development proposal by way of resource consent applications from Woolworths be declined


No Special Arboriculturalist Report re the Copper Beech Yet Available


The proposed development would keep the Copper Beech tree, not see it cut down. Woolworth’s provided a report on the tree’s current good health with their application.  The Trust understands Woolworths had a consultant arborist on site after their application was lodged. There may be a further report addressing mitigatory measures  to prevent damage to the tree during a development and the longer term survivability of this splendid heritage tree if the application is approved. We don’t know if a report of this kind would be sent to Council/made public. The Planning Manager did not request or commission such a report for what he considers are legal reasons. The tree is on private private property and is not registered as a notable tree in the Combined District Plan.  I made a representation to the Greytown Community Board on 14 September for it to make a recommendation to Council to obtain an arborist’s report on the tree’s survivablity and mitigations to prevent harm if the development is approved. However, The Board did not pass a motion to this effect.


Waka Kotahi – NZ Transport Agency Position on Application


The Trust has seen a copy of a key letter from the Agency to the Applicant’s Planning Consultant dated 12 September 2022 (a copy was also sent by Waka Kotahi to Council).  The Agency’s primary concern is the impact of large delivery vehicles on the safety of the pedestrian crossing just north of 134 Main Street. Waka Kotahi said it was unable to support  the current Woolworth’s application for a new vehicle crossing, in particular because of the safety effects of right turning vehicles on the pedestrian crossing. In addition the Agency has concerns for the safety of pedestrians on the footpath navigating the accessway. Space restrictions mean I cannot include other concerns of the Agency set out in its 12 September letter.

Woolworths – Fresh Choice Resource Consent Applications – Proposed Development, 134 Main Street Greytown


The Trust wrote a detailed objection to the Planning Department at South Wairarapa District Council. A copy of our comment is on our web site, along with other recent comments from the Trust on resource consent applications to Council for Greytown Main Street developments.


Regarding the proposed Fresh Choice development applications:


• We believe that the traffic flow, the large trucks in particular, into Fresh Choice from Main Street will impact adversely on the heritage character of this vital part of our Heritage Precinct. The Trust also notes and shares the community concerns regarding large trucks/increased traffic  impacting on the safety of the public (school children in particular) using the nearby pedestrian crossing!


• We have significant concerns for the health/survival of the heritage copper beech tree because of the impact of vehicular traffic on or near its lateral root system in particular. Unfortunately, the copper beech is not a listed tree – it is located on privately owned land and was not added to the Greytown list of Heritage Trees now updated in the Wairarapa Combined District Plan;


• The proposed Fresh Choice sign does not comply with the existing Combined District Plan and fails to take into account the Town Centre Design Guidelines (often referred to as the heritage precinct design guidelines).

A Group Photo of GHT trustees with Lucy and special guests: Left to right: Frank Minehan ( Trustee), Sylvia Smith ( Trustee), Tania Connelly (Mayoress), Carmel Ferguson ( Chair/Trustee), Robyn Blue (Trustee), Mayor Martin Connelly, Craig Thorburn (Trustee), Lorraine Hall, (Trustee), Lucy Cooper, Gina Jones (Trustee), Danielle Genty-Nott ( Trustee) Councillor ‘Woody’ Woodcock and Greytown Community Board member Jo Woodcock.



The talented and multi -  skilled planner Lucy Cooper of Greytown was speaker at our popular annual Heritage Address held on Tuesday 1 November 2022 in The Captain’s Room, The White Swan Hotel on Main Street Greytown.  The venue was packed and the very interactive address well received. Lucy has a wicked sense of humour and the visuals that went with her address were captivating. However, there was the practical, extremely educative side of things – focusing on how best to prepare, present and advocate for submissions to Council, for example providing your comment on the Draft Wairarapa Combined District Plan (submissions are due by 5pm on 6 December 2023 – here). Lucy’s expertise was obvious but delivered in such a way as to make the evening not only educative but also very enjoyable/huge fun.


Greytown Heritage Trust Style Guide Launch


At long last we were able to have a public launch of this very significant best practice document for developments/retention of our Greytown heritage, particularly in Main Street. Long serving trustee and senior architect Gina Jones was the author and she spoke in support of the Style Guide at its launch at the recent Annual Address. You can email us for a hard copy.


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