Talking business with Anthony Haas


Aviation potential for Greytown and its region

piper cub

Piper Cub – potential!


Destination Wairarapa seeks to develop tourism in the region.

Local aviation specialists believe they can support Destination Wairarapa by enhancing local aviation activities.

The region’s other attractions include Pukaha Mt Bruce wild life sanctuary, wine trail Masterton through to Martinborough, artisan food and crafts, Rotary Martinborough Fair, the Tui Brewery, boutique accommodation, Aratoi art gallery, Gate to Plate, Toast Martinborough, Kokomai creative arts festival, Chocol’Art festival, International drag car meets, Golden Shears, Wings over Wairarapa and WWI aircraft collection.

Discussions, plans and actions.

Masterton’s Hood aerodrome Sky Sports’ Tandem Parachuting, Wairarapa Helicopters, RNZAF Strikemasters and the incorporated society NZ Sport and Vintage Aviation have been in discussion to commence unique flying activities. The plan is for a visitor to be able to take a Tandem Parachute sky dive, ride in a helicopter, a Tiger Moth or Strikemaster jet, and visit the local internationally renowned vintage aircraft collection.

John Bushell anticipates implementation of this plan by spring 2016.

The April 2016 unveiling of the Greytown Soaring Centre (GSC) at the gliding airfield at Papawai, supported by South Wairarapa District Council, the Papawai marae, Wellington Gliding and Gliding Wairarapa designed to attract gliding enthusiasts from around the world to experience some of the unique gliding conditions in Greytown and its surrounding region. Another of the GSC volunteer team’s visions is to encourage youth gliding camps and Maori cultural experiences for local and visiting students.

Potential of Masterton airport is largely underutilised

The potential of Masterton airport is largely underutilised, says John Bushell, Greytown aviation specialist and a member of the Soaring Centre. Initiatives are underway to unleash the potential of the airport, and combined with the Greytown Soaring Centre at Papawai to build aviation tourism in the Wairarapa.



Talking business with Anthony Haas

pastoral paddock


Strategy for land-based economy

The Masterton (Wairarapa) Economic Development Programme has an aim of having a vibrant, happy community with a strong and sustainable economy.

Implicit in this is the concept of population growth based on the premise that a greater population will generate more economic activity and enable more investment in community infrastructure.

The 3 strands of activity in the economic development programme are:

  • Industry Growth – initial focus is primary sector and in particular cropping
  • Education – as an industry in its own right and as an attractor of economic activity
  • Business and Investment Attraction – including a “business friendly” Local Government sector

The proactive efforts in recent time have revolved around the “My Masterton” campaign. This has been domestic and aimed at the “lifestyle” benefits and lower costs as opposed to economic opportunities.

At present there is no explicit activity targeted at the skills and talent required to make the outcomes possible. This includes any activity around migrants both domestically or from outside NZ.

There are migrant worker populations in the region at present including seasonal workers from the Pacific under the RSE programme.


To get the Masterton (Wairarapa) leaders to endorse/support/action the development of an explicit Skills and Talent component to the programme for Wairarapa that complements the regional and national activity already in place. This includes being engaged with activity elsewhere in the Wellington region (WREDA).


There is the opportunity for Wairarapa to develop a local flavour to any such programme that does not preclude any migrants but does a have a focus on meeting the specific labour market needs of the region.

It is logical that any such focus relates to the labour needs of our land-based economy and supporting activity.

In comparison to the rest of the Wellington region, Wairarapa has a clear differentiation. This makes the total regional picture more diverse as to what it has to offer any migrants.

In addition to the current labour needs of the land-based industries, when the Water Wairarapa project is developed, there will be an increased demand for skilled land-based workers that the region will struggle to fill. This increase in migrants meeting labour needs when large scale water projects are developed is a well-documented outcome.

It is also well documented that regions who plan ahead for such an increase in migrants are better able to minimise the risk of community dislocation.

This raises the two issues related to the migrant programme:

  1. The attraction of migrants to meet regional labour needs
  2. The support structures that are in place to ensure that migrants are welcomed and integrated successfully into the community and are able to be productive.

Clearly, No. 2 can be put into action immediately to improve the services available to the existing migrants including seasonal workers.


Possible Action Plan:

  1. Masterton (Wairarapa) Economic Development Programme leaders adopt the subject of Skills and Talent attraction as a subset of the Business and Investment Attraction work stream and support as a focus for their activity.
  2. That any activity is coordinated with any wider Wellington Regional activity including the proposed relationship with Immigration NZ.
  3. That some analysis/evaluation is undertaken of the existing support structures in place for new Skills and Talent to Wairarapa.
  4. That some analysis is undertaken of the immediate, short-term and medium term employment shortages in Wairarapa with a focus on land-based industries.
  5. The outcomes of points 1-4 are used to inform the development a pro-active programme of work to attract suitable skills and talent should the data indicate that workforce shortages exist now or will occur in the future.

Talking business with Anthony Haas

Building on local achievements

Greig photo

Internationally renowned potter lived in Greytown. Photo from Wairarapa Times. Their article can be found here Potter’s work heading to Te Papa.

An exhibition of pottery by the late James Greig opened in early December 2016 and ran for three months in the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt. Rhondda Greig, his widow and an artist has cared for James’ work since he died in Japan 30 years ago. The couple and their two children had lived first in Maungakaramea, Northland, before they moved in 1968 to Greytown where he set up his first Wairarapa studio and kiln. In 1970 they moved to neighbouring Carterton rural land where Rhondda still lives.

Collectors’ items

Much of James Greig’s pottery is in public and private collections, including a substantial portion in Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand. They are also held in the UN Headquarters in New York, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His work has been widely exhibited in Japan. James, like many other New Zealand potters, was influenced by notable Japanese potters, such as Kanjiro Kawai and Yu Fujiwara. I became aware of the respect Japan had for James Greig, and how his work put New Zealand on the Japanese map.

I was a member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, and moved quickly to report for the Japanese and New Zealand governments and business leaders on the work and death of this man influential Japanese regarded as a distinguished potter. It was on one of my returns home to Pahiatua that then Masterton Mayor Bob Francis said that, as a local boy, I should help the economic development of the Wairarapa by fostering linkages to Japan. It was at that time that Mayor Francis negotiated successfully to attract forestry major Juken Nissho Ltd to the Wairarapa.

Potter Grieg book being written in Greytown

Rhondda Greig has also made arrangements with a Greytown researcher/writer, Dr Polly Cantlon to write a book on James Greig. Greytown photographer John Casey has been commissioned to do photography for the book.

The community and its leaders could build on the foundations the Greig family have established for the profile of Greytown and its neighbours. James Greig’s pottery is an asset on which linkages could be built, profiling the place where international-standard artworks have been created.



Talking business with Anthony Haas

Business investment, attraction and retention summit


The case for an early 2017 Wairarapa business summit becomes more compelling as we look beyond the 7.8 strong earthquake that shook Wellington. 

The Masterton district economic development programme was developed to further enable industry lead activity focused on strengthening Masterton’s economy.   A key driver of the programme is to strengthen the “culture of collaboration” between industry representatives, councils and other key stakeholders in creating more prosperity.

Local government and business leaders discussed a summit after Waitangi weekend 2017 to build on the Masterton district economic development programme. The activity aims to further enable industry lead activity focused on strengthening Masterton’s economy.

The Wellington regional economic development agency (WREDA) advocates a regional approach, targeting food and beverage, Chinese supermarkets, aviation and water business partnerships. WREDA’s Masterton based Geoff Copps emphasises “what’s good for Wairarapa is good for Wellington” – more leaders said the regional economic programme should focus on Wairarapa, not just Masterton”.

At a business investment, attraction and retention workshop on 31 October 2016 in Masterton, leaders identified opportunities with iwi participation, the investment arm of local councils and trusts, commitment to innovation and transparent communication. The leaders say the region needs a focus on technology and mobile talent – “people who can live anywhere and do what they do”.

Masterton mayor Lynn Patterson was to connect with other councils in anticipation of the summit. Masterton’s CEO Pim Borren and economic development adviser Kieran McAnulty see three prongs to the development thrust – education, agri-business and business attraction. Among the contributions Masterton offer to foster a “can do culture” are “pre-development conversations” and “delivering innovative solutions” – illustrated by the establishment of a call centre. MDC wishes to meet with the Iwi commercial board and determine how they want to be engage.

What’s good for Wairarapa is good for Wellington

Leaders identified opportunities with the investment arm of local councils and trusts. There are opportunities in commitment to innovation and transparent communication. The leaders say the region needs a focus on technology and mobile talent – people who can live anywhere and do what they do. One of the workshop’s tangible ideas was to attract foreign students. Another idea was contacting Wellington firms who could potentially relocate to Wairarapa.

Next steps were to include decision making on how to establish the right governance support for the programme overall, understanding the potential cost of the structure and for individual initiatives such as the development of a strategy. And then the big earthquake struck!

Coping with the earthquake

The development of the Wairarapa economic development strategy, summit, cooperation and action could be applied to help cope with the earthquake and aftermath that made some Wellington buildings unsafe.

Town, country, transport and other infrastructure to complement Wellington’s recovery could be developed in the Wairarapa. Central government and other interested parties could discuss a recovery option that capitalised on the complementarities of Wellington and the Wairarapa.

There are typically six trains and buses a day linking Wellington Wairarapa railway stations and homes and offices – some only an hour away. Commuters go from Wairarapa urban and rural lifestyle blocks to the many Wellington offices that meet their needs. Commuters could come from Wellington to use the Wairarapa services they need.

There is Wairarapa land close to rail stations and roads, capable of being zoned and developed for offices, educational institutions, houses and other services. Local and central government officers, developers, builders, financiers and other key players could confer about building to meet the needs of central government as well as the other purposes identified in the 31 October workshop, and relevant to post earthquake policy making that could be explored at the summit 2017 after Waitangi weekend. Some of the thinking could be short term, some could be reflected in the Masterton, South Wairarapa, Carterton, Wellington and relevant other long term community council ten year plans – and policies for central government.

The DecisionMaker Talking Business column has been researching opportunities for the economic development of the Wairarapa, supports the summit thinking and offers the idea of a post earthquake development strategy.



Talking business with Anthony Haas

Evans …converting effluent to energy


European technology that converts milk and meat processing plant effluent into self- contained waste consuming and energy generating plants is now available in New Zealand.

A Talking Business Grapevine correspondent reported this claim from Napier industrialist Ken Evans to a Greytown woman horticulturalist living next to a cow farm. Evans said the technology allowed milk and meat processing plants to become their own standalone waste treatment units with the added advantage of these plants using the waste so consumed as their own source of energy.


The horticulturalist called on Evans to answer more questions, such as the negative impact of many cows compacting paddocks, the practicalities of big cow sheds, collecting effluent from cows, and more that readers might comment on.

As an example Evans cited large scale milking centres in Europe that were self-sufficient in power simply because all the waste they generated was converted into electricity.
He said that the era in which factories could discharge their waste in any volume or in any proportion into the public domain should have ended many years ago. It was now time to apply a readily available solution, and one widely used internationally, he said

Preventing waste getting into the water system

The problem he said was that there had not been the concerted nationwide will to do something about process waste finding its way into the water system.

The Napier industrialist said this was itself a by-product of uncertainty about the ability of technology to cope with the problem. “You look at the situation today in which vehicles that drive themselves are now on the roads. Yet we still have copious amounts of concentrated waste matter allowed to penetrate the nation’s water system.”

Evans said that waste-to-energy plant technology in primary processing had been allowed to be placed in the “too hard” basket.

He said that the conservation lobby had allowed itself to become over-focused on international issues at the expense of seeking solutions to problems in what he described as the nation’s “back yard.”

Evans said that he would now ensure that milk and meat processors in New Zealand were acquainted with this waste-to-energy solution that was so widely used in Europe. His objective he said was to make New Zealand’s processing plants their own waste consumers, and thus their own energy suppliers.

It was, Evans said, a relatively low cost solution, and one with its own pay-back. “This proven technology was now readily available in New Zealand backed by specialists with the experience to install it”.

At least one neighbouring Greytown horticulturalist, with ties to the conservation lobby, wants to be convinced.

Talking business with Anthony Haas

Pastoral care

Solomon Islands flag

In 2016 in the Wairarapa, there were 51 Pacific Island seasonal workers, of whom eight were women. All workers were employed by JR Orchards in Greytown. Craggy Range in Martinborough also employs Pacific Islanders, they bring in workers from Vanuatu. From Nov-April they had 10 workers: a couple led the group. In June the couple were to return with some men. Solomon Islanders who have been working under the Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme are predominately employed in the Hawkes Bay and Bay of Plenty regions. However, there are smaller pockets of workers found in other parts of the country.

During the first few seasons of the RSE scheme, Solomon Islanders were not officially part of the scheme, instead they were privately employed by farmers. However, in 2010, when Solomon Islands officially became part of the RSE scheme, the number of workers increased. To date there are nearer to 500 workers, a small number in comparison to Vanuatu’s 2000 workers each season.

The seasonal workers and local hosts face pastoral care challenges says Lois Aburi Kusilifu, Solomon Islander wife of a Wairarapa pastor. In March 2015 she wrote a dissertation for her Otago University Master of Indigenous Studies on the experiences of the Solomon Islands Seasonal Workers under the RSE scheme in New Zealand. On Wed 20 July from 7.30 pm she will speak at an open meeting in Mrs Lois Aburi Kusilifu Masterton to the Wairarapa branch of the NZ Institute of International Affairs, in the Wairarapa Sports House on the corner of Chapel and Jackson St, elaborating on the pastoral issues and expanding on the impact that RSE has had on the horticulture and viticulture industries.

Solomon Islands impact on horticulture and viticulture

Among reasons for implementing the RSE scheme were the shortage of seasonal labour for the horticulture and viticulture industries, and the acknowledgment that improving temporary access to Pacific Islands Forum nations, contributed to New Zealand’s broad objectives of encouraging economic development, regional integration and stability.

The Taranaki Daily News said on 2 January 2014 that since the implementation of the employment scheme the RSE has helped orchard owners to raise production by 32%, and that the industry could not have grown without the RSE workers.

Lois Ahuri Kusilifu draws attention to how the scheme has benefited its workers. In a survey carried out in 2014 for Solomon Island workers, the scheme has benefited their immediate and extended families. However, the survey showed that each season, “issues of concern expressed by workers, were accommodation, lack of social interaction, recreational activities and opportunities for many to attend church”.

Worker programmes

Although there are other worker programmes in New Zealand for seasonal migrants, such as the Variations of Conditions (VOC), Worker Holiday Scheme (WHS) and Working Holiday Extensions (WHE) the most common programme for the Solomon Islands seasonal migrant is the RSE scheme. Greytown can use a range of seasonal worker programmes – and could improve pastoral care and other aspects by using strengths within the community.

Talking business with Anthony Haas Accomodation in Greytown Should you want to visit quaint Greytown and you are impressed…where will you stay? A local realtor’s take is “A Country Village with Metropolitan Style.” You may wish to lay your head within the village confines, close to the action, or venture into the countryside on a farm? After you choose from almost 50 possibilities that we found, how difficult is it practically to access a place? Computer literacy is an optimum method, as that allows booking ahead. Some places will require full payment to guarantee your stay however. We began online, who doesn’t these days? Destination Wairarapa Information for Greytown: Under Backpackers only the 150 year old Greytown Hotel came up at $80.00 a night with $10 extra for a breakfast it allows walk ins or online booking similar to a YHA reservation. A good series of photographs on site. Bed n Breakfast accomodation: of five places listed – most userfriendly and economical (starts at $80.00 for the Rustic cabin) extra comfort costs $140.00 – Under the Totara Trees, Waiohine Gorge, which offers wheelchair access, also outdoor BBQ and option of having pets there, so long as they remain outside An interesting option right in Greytown is the historic listed villa The Saddlery built 1868 that starts at $179.00 up to $240.00 includes full German breakfast. Online booking is prompt and easy for all venues listed on Destination Wairarapa. Holiday Houses are five, one being on a farm, one requiring booking through the Masterton I-Site. Our generic google search came up with: Greytown holiday homes, accommodation rentals, baches … Results 1 – 32 of 32 – Greytown NZ holiday homes. Greytown accommodation – self catering holiday homes, houses, baches, beach houses, vacation rentals. But on foot or in a car and making a decsion to stay we found a possibility for how to uncover information: A visit to Greytown Information Centre uncovered, Jason’s Travel booklet that suggests Greytown is a unique Victorian village and well worth a visit, also mentions Papawai Marae was the first Maori Parliament. But finding accomodation listings are difficult which is ironic! The Greytown Information Centre has been proactive and taken upon themselves [as of March this year], to produce a simple accomodation list: Name of place, address, contact telephone number and capacity as well as cost as of March 2016 and web addresses. They list no fewer than forty seven possibilties including newly-opened main street motels. There are also local providers who have left leaflets with colour photos and information to be uplifted or browsed. So if you are strolling by and on impulse decide to stay, the Greytown Information Centre list may prove be a good hard copy resource.

Talking business with Anthony Haas Business growth for Greytown Learning from experience. From both an economic and employment point of view, the opening of the JNL sawmill and laminated veneer lumber plant in 1992 by then New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger was an “absolute godsend” for the Wairarapa says then Masterton Mayor Bob Francis. In the recently published “Bob Francis, a story of my town”, the community leader says “Lets face it, we weren’t in good shape before they came along, we desperately needed something to fill the void created by the closure of the Waingawa freezing works some three years earlier”. Bob Francis, alongside others with Japan New Zealand business experience, worked to make the Juken Nissho (JNL) sawmill and laminated veneer plant idea into a reality. Attract people with skills Lessons can be learnt from success and failure frankly reported by Bob Francis in the story of his town. Masterton and its neighbourhood. The region could benefit from growth. Forward looking locals talk of the town’s potential. They see the region with land based successes and water based and other prospects. They talk of the local need to attract people with skills. There are positive signals, some visible in a close reading of the Bob Francis story. Other writers and publishers can help mobilise ideas for development – complementing multi-sector initiatives, including arts, sports and other features of tourism. Central government has regional development programmes, as Steven Joyce and other ministers periodically say. Central and local government plans can complement each other. Wairarapa mayors, local members of Parliament and Wellington regional council representatives can advocate for aspects of ten year and annual plans. Asian convenience food markets Research institutions such as Massey University, and its vice chancellor Steve Maharey, suggest Asian convenience food markets are open for local business. Established food businesses, not only dairy, beef and sheep meat, wine, pizza and other food services offering a taste of New Zealand can be grown. What can be achieved with horticulture lines such as apples – fresh and processed? What more can be done with mushrooms, with organics or well-seasoned vegetables for the Asian ethnic domestic and export markets? Service industries, needed for such enterprises, and for accommodating people with skills the region can attract, offer other business opportunities – from housing to ageing in place personal services. The basic infrastructure for Wairarapa business matching and development is in place. Contemporary political, business and community leaders should display the political will to turn big and small business ideas into reality. In the 2016 Talking business series we looked for the political will and ideas for Greytown and its neighbourhood.



Talking business with Anthony Haas, Grapevine column for Nov 2016



Internationally renowned potter lived in Greytown

Building on local achievements

An exhibition of pottery by the late James Greig opened in early December and runs for three months in the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt. Rhonda Greig, his widow and an artist has cared for James’ work since he died in Japan 30 years ago. The couple and their two children had lived first in Maungakaramea, Northland, before they moved in 1968 to Greytown where he set up his first Wairarapa studio and kiln. In 1970 they moved to neighbouring Carterton rural land where Rhonda still lives.

Collectors’ items Continue reading