New Settlers

Ata Rangi

Gerald Hensley is a living advertisement for the Wairarapa and for those who want to attract people to live here.

‘Juliet’ is named in honour of a special friend who exemplified elegance, charisma, grace and style – qualities we feel are also well expressed in this wine from her family vineyard. It was a pleasure to officially recognise its release with her husband and daughters, and raise a glass in fond remembrance of her.

Gerald Hensley came to the Wairarapa for it’s work opportunities, retirement lifestyle and the wide sky which reminds him of the Canterbury he grew up in. He spoke at the recent Booktown event in Featherston. The event was so popular that there was no room for late comers. His books include Friendly Fire in which he talks about the cast of characters with whom he has worked.

Before coming to live and work in Martinborough, Gerald Hensley held a number of senior public service roles including head of the Prime Minister’s Department under Sir Robert Muldoon and David Lange before being appointed Secretary of Defence. Early in his career as a foreign service officer he played significant roles in the establishment of modern independent Samoa.

Gerald says Martinborough, where he lives, has good land for growing grapes and making wine. Land which was marginal for sheep farming is good for growing vines. Soil quality is important and while water can be bought from the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and water is available from the Ruamahanga river, vineyards don’t need vast irrigation.

Labour needs fluctuate, but there is no need for special steps to open more labour. Current sources of labour include those on working holidays from North America and Europe, particularly Germany and France. At this stage he sees no need for increasing the Pacific Island workforce. Reducing costs is a more important issue for the industry and global transport connections continue to be an important consideration.


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