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Masterton is a town and local government district in the Wellington Regionmarker of New Zealandmarker. It is the largest town in the Wairarapa, a region separated from Wellington by the Rimutakamarker ranges. It is 100 kilometres north-east of Wellingtonmarker, 28 kilometres south of Eketahunamarker, on the Ruamahanga Rivermarker.

Masterton is a thriving community with an urban population of , and district population of

The Wairarapa Line railway allows many residents easy access to work in the cities of Wellingtonmarker, Lower Huttmarker and Upper Huttmarker.

Local industries involve service industries for the surrounding farming community. The town is the headquarters of the annual Golden Shears sheep-shearing competition.


Named after pioneer Joseph Masters, Masterton was first settled by Europeans on 21 May 1854. It gained borough status in 1877. It did not quite qualify to be a city by 1989 when the minimum population requirement for that status was lifted from 20,000 to 50,000.

The Wairarapa Line railway opened to Masterton on 1 November 1880.

In 1992, Raymond Ratima bludgeoned to death seven family members in a house in Masterton. He was later found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.


At the 2006 census, Masterton District had a population of 22,623, an increase of 6 people, <0.1 percent,="" since="" the="" 2001="" census.="" There="" were="" 9030="" occupied="" dwellings,="" 1248="" unoccupied="" and="" 123="" dwellings="" under="" construction.=""></0.1>

Of the population, 10,869 (48.0%) were male, and 11,754 (52.0%) female. The district had a median age of 40.4 years, 4.5 years above the national median age of 35.9 years. People aged 65 years and over made up 16.8% of the population, compared to 12.3% nationally, and people under 15 years made up 21.3%, compared to 21.5% nationally.

Masterton's ethnicity was made up of (national figure in brackets): 77.9% European (67.6%), 16.9% Maori (14.7%), 1.7% Asian (9.2%), 2.7% Pacific Islanders (6.9%), 0.26% Middle Eastern/Latin American/African (0.9%), 12.1% 'New Zealanders' (11.1%), and 0.05% Other (0.04%).

Masterton had an unemployment rate of 4.8% of people 15 years and over, compared to 5.1% nationally. The median annual income of all people 15 years and over was $21,700, compared to $24,400 nationally. Of those, 46.7% earned under $20,000, compared to 43.2% nationally, while 12.3% earned over $50,000, compared to 18.0% nationally.


Masterton enjoys a mild temperate climate. Due to the geography of the Wairarapa valley and the Tararua Rangemarker directly to the west, the town's temperature fluctuates more than nearby inland city of Palmerston Northmarker. Masterton experiences warmer, dry summers with highs above 30°C possible and colder winters with frequent frost and lows below 0°C.

Golden Shears sign.


Following the reform of schools in 2004, the Masterton district has 12 primary schools (Douglas Park, Fernridge, Hadlow, Lakeview, Mauriceville, Masterton Primary, Opaki, Solway, St Patricks, Tinuimarker, Wainuiouru, Whareama), an intermediate school (Masterton Intermediate), and 6 secondary schools (Chanel College, Makoura Collegemarker, Rathkeale Collegemarker, Solway Collegemarker, St Matthew's Collegiate, Wairarapa College). There is also a Māori immersion school, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Wairarapa.

Masterton has its own polytechnic, run by UCOL.



The Masterton telephone exchange opened in 1897 with 53 subscribers. On 31 May 1919, Masterton became the first town in New Zealand to have a completely automatic (Rotary) telephone exchange.

Masterton and nearby Cartertonmarker were the first towns in New Zealand to introduce the emergency number 111, in September 1958.

Before the 1991 to 1993 changes, the area code for Masterton was 059. Today the area code is 06, and numbers begin with 370, 372, 377, 378, 379, and 946. 946 numbers are companies only.


In 2007 there were two wireless internet service providers based in Masterton, providing high speed broadband access to the towns and rural areas of the Wairarapa. WISE Net (purchased by Orcon Internet Limited in 2006, and in January 2007 Canning & Associates purchased Orcon WiseNet Wireless Network) and Canning & Associates. ADSL access is widely available.


Masterton is serviced by all the major national television channels.

The main television transmitter for the town, and most of the southern half of the district, is the Otahoua transmitter atop Bennett's Hill, north-west of the town. TV3 transmits from the Popoiti transmitter east of Greytownmarker. In the northern half of the district, Palmerston Northmarker's Mount Wharite transmitter provides the television service.Freeview is also available.


Masterton is very well served by public transport with rail, bus and air links. Despite Masterton and the Wairarapa valley being reasonably close to Wellington, they are separated by the Rimutaka Rangesmarker with State Highway 2 cutting a winding hill road through the range, and the Rimutaka railway tunnel. Unlike other parts of the country, the Wairarapa has seen passenger rail services remain, largely due to its proximity to Wellington and the Rimutaka Tunnel's advantage over the Rimutaka Hill road. There has been talk of constructing a road tunnel through the ranges for decades, but this has been ruled out due to the extremely high cost. According to the latest transportation plan from the Greater Wellington Regional Council, the only work planned is for upgrades to the Rimutaka Hill road and the addition of passing lanes between Featherstonmarker and Masterton.


Masterton is linked to Wellington and the Hutt Valley by the Wairarapa Connection, a Tranz Metro passenger service run for Greater Wellington Region's Metlink, primarily operating at peak times serving commuters from Masterton and the Wairarapa with five return services on Monday to Thursday, six on Friday and two at weekends and public holidays. Unusually for a small town there are three railway stations, Mastertonmarker, Renall Streetmarker and Solwaymarker.


There is a local Metlink bus service in Masterton operated by Tranzit. The buses operate on five routes: three suburban and two regional including:
Metlink Bus Services Termini
Route 200
Wairarapa Hospital
Featherston Station
Route 201
Masterton West
Masterton – Church Street
Worksop Road (Woolworths)
Route 202
Masterton South & East
Masterton – Church Street
Masterton – Church Street
Route 203
Masterton – Lansdowne Circuit
Masterton – Church Street
Worksop Road (Woolworths)
Route 205
Featherston Station

There is also the MPN: Masterton to Palmerston North (via Woodville) service, not operated under the Metlink brand.


Hood Aerodromemarker is south of Masterton. From early 2009 Air New Zealand provides flights to Auckland, operated by subsidiary Eagle Air six days a week, mainly to serve business customers in the Wairarapa.. There have been a few unsuccessful attempts at commercial air travel in Masterton, mostly due to its proximity to major airports in Wellington and Palmerston North. The most significant was by South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand (SPANZ), which operated daily flights using DC3s during the sixties to destinations nationwide until the airline's closure in 1966. Air New Zealand have daily flights between Masterton and Auckland, which started in 2009.

Sister cities

Masterton has Sister City relationships with:

See also


  1. Destination Wairarapa

External links

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