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Joy Cowley ONZ, Patron

Joy lives in Featherston and is beloved by children, adults and all who meet her.  Joy is a prolific, widely-published and much-celebrated writer of fiction for adults and children.  Her spiritual writings are inspiring and in 2017 Joy agreed to be Featherston Booktown's Patron.  Joy is the mastermind behind the topics for the Featherston Children's annual writing competition which is an important part of the Featherston Booktown May Festival.  


Lincoln Gould, Founding Kaumatua


Gillie and Lincoln Gould live in a Cowshed down Underhill Road, Featherston.   They have had the property since 1997 and have lived there permanently for five years. The cows have left, replaced by olive trees.  Both work in Wellington with Lincoln heading up Booksellers NZ and Gillie in the public sector. Books have, and are, a huge part of their lives. They operate Messines Bookshop : Military History in Featherston, inspired by both Booktown and Featherston’s military history.  Lincoln was alerted to the Booktown concept by his daughter, Rosie, drawing his attention to Hay-on-Wye, in the UK, the original Booktown. He then came across Clunes Booktown in Victoria through talking with book people in Melbourne in 2011.  Visiting Clunes, the idea of developing the concept in Featherston was born. Lincoln was the founding Chair of the Featherston Booktown Trust from 2014 to 2017.

Board of Trustees

Peter Biggs CNZM: Chair


Peter (Biggsy) moved with wife Mary and their four children to their property, Te Puhi, which is just outside Featherston, in 1997.  Amongst his other interests, he is Chair of the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) and also chairs the New Zealand Book Council.

Pete Monk, Treasurer


Pete moved to Featherston in 2001 with wife Shelley to allow the kids to grow up enjoying a healthy, outdoors lifestyle. During several decades in the corporate world, he spent many years on tourism industry boards and judged in the NZ Tourism Awards. A passionate photographer, he captures images of the country, near and far, with a special focus on the wonders of the Wairarapa. He is Chair of Toast Martinborough and a Trusteee of Karori Sanctuary Trust. When not working as Business Manager at Ata Rangi in Martinborough, he reads everything he can get his hands on, including the dictionary.


Kate Mead, Trustee

Kate lives with husband Ross in an old hall built during WWI. They are working on turning the main room into a floor to ceiling library. They hold house concerts there along with other social events. An accomplished cellist, Kate has been a trustee of SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music, and Toi Wairarapa and was, for many years, programme manager for Radio New Zealand Concert. Kate has been our Operations Director for the past three years, and has now joined the board.

Ross Vickery, Trustee

Ross is a lawyer, has a passion for brass band music and in his spare time makes cheese. With wife Kate, he enjoys life in their WWI-era hall in Featherston.

Liz Mellish, Trustee


Liz Mellish is a passionate Featherstonian who brings substantial governance experience to the Booktown board, holding Chair positions for Palmerston North Maori Reserve Trust, which has an asset base of more than $80 million, and the Card Reserve Artificial Surface in Featherston. She also maintains directorships across a diverse range of organisations - Metlifecare Palmerston North Retirement Village, Wharewaka O Poneke Ltd, which manages the business of the Wharewaka as a function centre and start-up cultural tourism business, Hikoikoi Management Ltd in Petone as well as property management company Haukawakawa Ltd, which is tasked with developments in Wellington’s Thorndon Quay. In her more than 40 years of living in Featherston, Liz has witnessed much change in our town and is deeply connected to the creativity and warmth of the heart of our community.

Noelle McCarthy, Trustee

Mary Biggs, Operations Manager


A Cordon Bleu-trained cook, Mary is the founder of Lavender’s Green, a cordial and country provisions company, which she ran from Te Puhi. In 2016 she launched her Country Cooking School.  Both she and Biggsy have degrees in English Literature and support the arts – particularly literature – as donors and patrons.  While parenting four children and running her own business, Mary honed her organisational skills and is excited to be the Operations Manager's role for Featherston Booktown.

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