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Open Books


Featherston Booktown

Image by Eugenio Mazzone

What is a Booktown?


A Booktown is a small rural town or village, close to major cities, in which second-hand and antiquarian bookshops are concentrated. Most Booktowns have developed in villages of historic interest or of scenic beauty.  Their residents set up events around books - selling them, writing, reading, illustrating, printing, making and publishing them.


The first was set up in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, back in 1961. Now they're around the World, from Europe to Malaysia, South Korea, Japan and Australia. The International Organisation of Booktowns binds the towns together.

Featherston became a full member of the International Organisation of Booktowns in 2018.

The Team

The Featherston Board of Trustees are: Peter Biggs CNZM (Chair), Liz Mellish (Deputy Chair), Darrin Goulding (Treasurer), Craig Linkhorn (Secretary), Cheryl Gallaway, Dave Adams ,and Mary McCallum.

Featherston Booktown's Operations Team include Mary Biggs (Operations Manager), Julie Lewis (Accounts/Events Manager), Denver Grenell (Marketing Coordinator), Yvonne Way (Events Manage
r/Administration Assistant), Hannah Sellars (Volunteer Captain), Melissa Mead (Young Readers Programme Assistant), Scilla Askew (Buskers Coordinator), Chris Miller (Designer/Webmaster),  Jessie Alsop (Booklovers Trail App Creator) and John O'Reilly (Administration Assistant). Jean McDowall is the Mrs Blackwell's Mother's Day Afternoon Tea Director and Angie Smith is the Country Tea & Cakes and Food Trucks Director.


The prolific, widely-published and much-celebrated writer, Joy Cowley, is the Patron of Featherston Booktown. Featherston Booktown's Founding Kaumātua, Lincoln Gould, was the Board's original Chair from 2014-2017.

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Founding Kaumātua: Lincoln Gould

Readers at Featherston Booktown - Photo Credit

Featherston Booktown Karukatea

Two cultures share our wonderful country – and region – and, at Featherston Booktown, we seek to recognise and bring that to life. After consulting Mana Whenua, we are proud to reveal the Te Reo expression of Featherston Booktown.


Karukatea means “the clear and observant eye” – with karu the word for “eye” and katea meaning “clarity”. The word takes in the narrative of our region (Wairarapa Moana being one eye of the fish and Wellington Harbour being the other eye of Māui’s fish). On a deeper level, the word also captures the concept of people seeking knowledge and clarity.

Our sincere thanks to Liz Mellish and Robin Potangaroa (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa) for their help and guidance through the process of finding an appropriate Te Reo expression of Featherston Booktown.

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