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2022 - Featherston Booktown BOT AGM - The Chair's Overview


Kia ora tātou

Over the last year, the Featherston Booktown Trustees significantly advanced the strategic trajectory of Featherston Booktown – as set-out in the organisation Strategic Plan.

We farewelled founding Trustees, Kate Mead and Ross Vickery (who left Featherston/Paetūmokai to live in Waihi) and we welcomed the following new Trustee to the Board: Darrin Goulding.

It was a busy year of events for Featherston Booktown – as outlined below:


12 September: Huihuinga Kaimahi for volunteers, stakeholders and Board – which reported back on the 2021 Karukatea Festival and sought input from volunteers and stakeholders for the 2022 Festival.


24 October: Labour weekend events including John Hellemans and Roger Robinson on cycling. And Rick Gekoski and Noelle McCarthy on Rick’s life and times.

We were saddened to learn of the death of Lydia Wevers – who was a highly popular presenter at a number of Featherston Booktown Kurakatea Festivals.


6 November: Featherston Booktown held its first-ever event outside Featherston/Paetūmokai – at the Solway Showgrounds in Masterton as part of the Pukaha Wairarapa Garden Show with Kath Irvine and Guy Somerset (moderator) on The Edible Backyard.

20 November: event held in the Kiwi Hall on the Saturday of Toast Martinborough (Which didn’t proceed due to COVID-19) with Lucy Cory and Joelle Thomson – The Cook and the Wine Writer. We also held an Artisan Food Fair in the afternoon from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM featuring six stall holders (three had pulled out the day before).

28 November – Supper and meeting with the Board for the booksellers in the Supper room.


5 December: Volunteers and supporters Christmas party at the Kiwi Hall.


Pop-up Reading Rooms were held weekly over the summer. Featherston Booktown worked with the seven Featherston booksellers to organise and promote reading rooms on the main street in Featherston where community members and visitors could read together outside on an appointed day each week.

Festival 121 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 Red Light setting. Featherston Booktown had planned to stage a night time poetry reading during this Festival.

MARCH 2022

The Featherston Booktown Board of Trustees postponed the Karukatea Festival to June 2022 – due to uncertainty around the COVID-19 Orange Light setting.

The Featherston Booktown 2022 Karukatea programme launch was postponed to April.

APRIL 2022

26 April: The Featherston Booktown 2022 Karukatea programme was launched at the Featherston Sports Hub.

MAY 2022

The Chair and Operations Manager represented Featherston Booktown at the Clunes Booktown Festival over the weekend of 29 April – 1 May (at their own expense).

The Chair represented Featherston Booktown at the IOB Global Conference in Borrby, Sweden – the IOB Global conference 26-29 May and secured Featherston Booktown hosting the next IOB Global conference in 2024.

JUNE 2022

The 2022 Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival took place – which was the most successful Festival to date, comprising: 8,000 visitors, 47 events throughout the weekend, 88 presenters, 14 booksellers in the Anzac Hall and seven booksellers in the main street, Witi Ihimaera as the guest speaker at the Fish’n’Chip Supper, a whakatau at the Papawai Marae, Eventfinda ticket sales up 58% on 2021; 134 volunteers and the innovative Young Readers Programme of 26 events, 18 presenters, 19 schools involved (children aged from 2 to 18 years of age).

JULY 2022

12 July: Ruth Shaw – The Bookseller from the End of the World – in conversation with Featherston Bookseller, Sue Ryan, at the Greytown Library as part of the Greytown Mid-Winter Christmas month long festival.

28 July: American author, Rex Pickett who wrote Sideways, visited Featherston and spoke to close Friends of Featherston Booktown (30+ people) about his fourth sequel in the series. Rex was so taken with the concept of Featherston being a “Booktown”, that he proposed including Featherston in his next book.


26 August: National Poetry Day was celebrated online with videos of some of Featherston Booktown’s favourite poets reading their poetry, including Sam Duckor-Jones, Witi Ihimaera, Tusiata Avia, Ruby Solly, Emma Sidnam, Jordan Hamell, and Tarns Hood

Ngā manaakitanga

Peter Biggs CNZM

Chair: Featherston Booktown Trust

August 2022

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