Greytown Heritage Trust
Greytown Heritage Trust byline


Greytown Heritage Trust



Alisoun Werry (above left) was a founding member of the Greytown Community Heritage Trust and a Greytown resident of 40 years. The Trust Deed was signed on 1 April 1994 by Alfred Eastwood, the late Max Edridge (above right), Judith Lee, Alan Wilks and Alisoun Werry. The Trust Deed outlines these aims:


  • To encourage and facilitate the preservation of historic buildings in and around Greytown, particularly those within the ‘Town Centre Precinct’ as defined in the South Wairarapa District Council District Plan.
  • To promote awareness of historical issues affecting Greytown.
  • To support local historical research.


Alisoun recalls that it was the threatened demolition of the historic Kouka Cottage on Main St (formerly known as Cabbage Tree Cottage) that provided the impetus for the organization. “The council used it as pensioner housing and it was in a terrible state. We paid the council $1 to buy it from them so that it could be rescued and (local architect) Max Edridge began drawing up plans to restore the verandah. It took three years for the land around the cottage to be separated and retitled.”


The new Trust then set its sights on improving the aesthetics of the town hall after its 1970s makeover and called a public meeting to encourage community engagement. “It was the biggest meeting ever ...well, since (travelling television quiz show host) Selwyn Toogood!” Alisoun recalls.

“About 20 people approved, the rest bayed for blood.”


It wasn’t until 2011 that the Town Hall was fully restored. The trust began working with SWDC to create an historic precinct in Greytown, running from the Kuratawhiti/Jellicoe Streets intersection in the north to Wood Street further south. Alisoun says this was an important step in establishing a pattern of consultation between the council and the trust.


One would-be legacy that was short lived, however, was the trust’s commissioning of a wooden statue of Sir George Grey by Wairarapa-based carver Harry Watson.  “It was a larger-than life, painted wooden statue,” says Alisoun, “but it lasted only a couple of years before the wood rotted due to its concrete base and the dampening effect of the trees around it.”


From there, the trust turned its energies to holding heritage weekends in Greytown, establishing the popular annual Heritage Address promoted by the current trust. “People used to drive through Greytown without even noticing it,” Alisoun points out, “so the town has been very lucky in that so many heritage buildings and trees were not destroyed.”






Much of the trust’s work throughout the year involves communications with SWDC’s planners.  The trust places high value on its excellent relationship with the council’s planners and

with the Greytown Community Board.


The trust receives regular notifications from the council about proposals affecting Greytown’s historic Main Street, ranging from alterations to existing houses and commercial buildings to new dwellings and signage.  The trust consults with its own advisors and reports back to council.


As a way of outwardly drawing attention to Greytown’s historic gems, high priority is placed on the research, writing and creation of new signs, as well as the replacement and/or updating of older signs.


Greytown Heritage Trust founding member Alisoun Werry
Max Edridge of the Greytown Heritage Trust

Get involved in celebrating and protecting Greytown’s heritage Become a member of Greytown Heritage Trust for just $20 and stay in touch with news and updates about the work we do. If you’d like to be considered for the role of a trustee, we’d love
to hear from you.


Greytown Heritage Trust chair Carmel Ferguson

CARMEL FERGUSON – It is a privilege to live in Greytown, surrounded by buildings and trees that speak to us of a generation long gone, but remembered with gratitude as so much of the town they built remains intact.  What a responsibility we hold! Time does not stand still in Greytown, nor should it.  We are a thriving and growing community who greatly value the heritage elements  attract many thousands of visitors throughout the year.


Our trustees have a pivotal role to play in maintaining the historical integrity of Greytown and we are committed to doing this with responsibility, integrity, inclusiveness and respect.  Over 2018 we hope to recruit more board members with specialist skills and I would welcome your enquiry.  We meet monthly throughout the year, on the 4th Thursday evening of each month. If you are interested in joining the membership of Greytown Heritage Trust, please download the membership form. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Mike Richards of Greytown Heritage Trust

MIKE RICHARDS – My wife Judith and I came to Greytown just over 4 years ago on a ‘weekender’ basis and loved it so much we chose to make it home. An aspect that attracted us was the town’s visual integrity. It’s not that Greytown is a living museum, it is much more than that – it has an X factor that reveals a ‘village’ that is proud of its past and on a clear path that accommodates things that are new, yet at the same time in harmony with the community.


We have been fortunate to own several historic homes and gardens over the years and I am able to use this experience to help maintain and enhance Greytown’s physical integrity. My role as a Trustee allows me to give objective feedback on heritage-related matters that may impact on that integrity. I also bring to the role professional experience in both private enterprise and government and have the management flexibility that is afforded by holding an MBA.  


Gina Jones of Greytown Heritage Trust

GINA JONES, FNZIA, FNZIOB – I am a Registered Architect, with heritage qualifications from the University of Canberra.

From a governance perspective, I provide experience that is singularly construction focused. My background includes: National President of the New Zealand Institute of Building (NZIOB), the inaugural National President of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), current Chair of the NZIOB Charitable Trust, and a current member of the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB).


My industry accolades include the prestigious NZIOB Medal (2009). I founded Accent Architects and ran the practice for 22 years, with my earlier career spent at Ampersand Architects (Director) via TWIA Architects (Graduate/Associate). I am  currently an Architect Consultant at Catalyst Consulting in Wellington.

Annabelle O'Meara of Greytown Heritage Trust

ANNABELLE O'MEARA – There’s something about historic towns that evokes a sense of comfort and safety, a wistfulness for the old way of life and the palpable presence of those whose footsteps we retrace. To be actively involved in the celebration and protection of Greytown’s fabulous heritage icons with like-minded people, serves as a reminder of why we choose to live in such places:  the history of New Zealand’s tangata whenua and settlers speak to us of values and aspirations that do not die with the passage of time. My role as a trustee of Greytown Heritage Trust presents new opportunities to continue working on heritage projects, following decades of similar involvement in the Queenstown-Arrowtown area. A strong sense teamwork underpinned by friendship and fun, the colourful stories and characters that provide a backdrop to our work and a love of social history in particular, are what drive me in this work.

"History is within us"  – Hilary Mantel.


Craig Thorburn of Greytown Heritage Trust

CRAIG THORBURNIt was the trees and architectural heritage of Greytown that drew me here from Auckland.  Greytown is like a time capsule. My background is in concept design, both interiors and landscape. I see my role on the Greytown Heritage Trust board as promoting and protecting Greytown’s superb heritage, in a spirit of partnership with our community.



VIVIENNE O'REILLY – My role as a Trustee of the Greytown Heritage Trust presents opportunities of fostering and enhancing the work of the trust. It's noteworthy that Greytown's historic precinct is New Zealand's most complete street of wooden Victorian buildings. I love the stories that these old buildings hold and I look forward to getting involved in the Trust's research team as it continues to update and increase its signwriting programme.



Mike Richards of Greytown Heritage Trust

TRACIE DONALD – I do feel very honoured to have been elected to the Greytown Heritage Trust and look forward to putting my experience as a fundraiser, former Rotarian and a retailer to good use in advancing the Trust's activities. I have the privilege of running my business from one of Main St Greytown's beautiful historic buildings and through this, I experience on a daily basis the public's respect and admiration for our town's wonderfully preserved heritage.


Gina Jones of Greytown Heritage Trust

RICHIE HILL –  As a consultant arborist I have been privileged to work with important trees throughout New Zealand, assisting landowners and local authorities on all tree matters. We are very lucky in Greytown to have mature trees around us. Trees are of ecological, environmental and social value. They are an integral and valuable part of living history – as a mighty bush remnant that has endured the effects of people settlement, or as an exotic specimen introduced to provide a linkage to a settler's homeland.


"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity ... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself." (William Blake, 1799)


Annabelle O'Meara of Greytown Heritage Trust

FRANK MINEHAN – It's a privilege to return to the Greytown Heritage Trust as a board member and trustee. I have a passion for Greytown's heritage and I do want to put a lot more energy /organisation into maintaining our fine heritage signs and organising new ones. I am still practising as a criminal lawyer but if I retire at the end of 2018, I'd like to upskill myself in resource management and district planning law and practice!




Craig Thorburn of Greytown Heritage Trust

DAVID CATTY – On joining the Greytown Heritage Trust soon after moving to Greytown in 2015, I started to learn the fascinating history of settlement in the district and to appreciate that a passionate group of local supporters was closely overseeing the quest to maintain that history and heritage.


So when Chair Carmel Ferguson approached me to see if I would utilise my financial experience to become Treasurer, my arm was not severely twisted at all. I'd been looking at how I could contribute to our new Community and this is as good a way as any.



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