Fab Feathy Survey Results 2022

In May 2022, fifty-three members of the Featherston community completed a survey run by Fab Feathy. The survey aimed to give Fab Feathy a sense of what was working well in the community, and what should come next.

Analysis of the responses identified twelve key themes. The first set of themes captured what is great about living in Featherston. It seems that the people, the groups, and the community set Featherston apart. To top it off, it is close enough to Wellington to reap the benefits of urban living, but far enough away to stay connected with nature. It is also small enough to maintain a small-town feel.

The second set of themes captures what is working well in Featherston. Community groups, community-led facilities, and community activities are a real strength. This is no surprise given how frequently community members spoke of Featherston’s helpful and supportive community. Local news and events also appear well communicated, and there is a sense that retail and hospitality is a boon for the town.

The final set of themes captures what would make Featherston an even better place to live. Infrastructure, amenities, and services top the list, with people wanting to see improvements in the likes of water, electricity, footpaths, green spaces, and public transport. These desires were closely followed by hopes that both the look and function of the main street could be improved. There were many ideas about how this could be done, but the general sense was that the main strip needs to be tidied up, and that spaces need to be better utilised. In addition to these two major themes, respondents also wanted better collaboration with the council and the other South Wairarapa towns, and to see even more activities run in Featherston.

To close the survey, residents were asked what Fab Feathy should do next. For those that answered this question from the perspective of “should Fab Feathy continue?” the mandate is clear: Fab Feathy’s mahi should continue. Others in the community answered this question from the perspective of “what actions should Fab Feathy pursue?”. These ideas are summarised in Table 5 at the end of the full report.

Though the future of Fab Feathy is not yet decided, the feedback provided by the community provides plenty of direction; both for Fab Feathy’s next ten months, as well as if its mahi continues beyond 2023.

If you would like to find out more about our mahi, feel free to call into the Community Centre to say hello, email us, or keep an eye out for our monthly column in the Featherston Phoenix and our updates on Facebook!

To read the full report on our survey findings, see below:

UPDATE: Wairarapa Moana Trail Feasibility Report

A few years ago, some locals formed Wairarapa Moana Trail Trust (WMTT) to learn more about an oft-requested need: greater connection between the Featherston people and the whenua – particularly in terms of getting down to Wairarapa Moana (and back again in one piece). 

After successful fundraising rounds, research, and reaching out through events such as Featherston Expos; Whakarongo ki te Taiao; Mysteries of the Moana; Featherston Christmas Parade; Paetūmõkai Featherston School bike track launch etc., WMTT were awarded funding to contract an engineering feasibility study from Rowan Sapsford at ROAM that investigates the feasibility of a route between Featherston and Wairarapa Moana Lake Domain; plus, a cost-benefit analysis. 

Following much outreach and on-site consultation, a 7.24km best-option route was determined (see: Fig. 1). This route is broken into five separate segments:

Proposed Trail
  1. An on-road route from Featherston Information Centre to the rail corridor at the eastern end of Woodward Street East
  2. An off-road trail on the south eastern side of the rail line within the Rail Corridor, including a bridge over the Otauira Stream
  3. A roadside trail (off-road) on the grass verge of Western Lake, Viles and North Soldiers Settlement roads. The southern extent of this section will connect with Pae tū Mōkai o Tauira Te Whare Whakapapa Raranga (formerly the Golf Course)
  4. An off-road section using Council land and paper roads from Pae tū Mōkai o Tauira to Soldiers Settlement Road, including a bridge over the Otauira Stream
  5. A roadside trail (off-road) on the grass verge of Soldiers Settlement Road to the Wairarapa Moana Domain. 

Construction is calculated at $1.2 million to meet a grade 2 spec. Annual maintenance is estimated to be ~$12,000 per year.

However, Wairarapa Moana is a taonga, and a place of local cultural, ecological, and historical significance. Many locals and visitors wish to connect with Wairarapa Moana more, and to preserve the environment for inanga, kākahi, and other rare species. We don’t need to tell you that Wairarapa Moana is worth a million bucks.

Well, actually, it’s more like five million bucks: The Benefit:Cost ratio for the trail is between 4.1 & 4.9 (Regional & National level, respectively). This is very strong, and estimates net economic benefits (NPV) of ~$4.1 to $5 million (at a Regional & National Level) every year.

Only a handful of these users are commuters; instead, hundreds of local single-day users meet thousands of out-of-region and international users to enjoy the Wairarapa valleys, lakes, and mountains. This represents a significant catchment for a local, boutique tourism and hospitality sector to service cyclists and walkers visiting Featherston for the heritage or the hermitage.

Make sure you have a read of ROAM Consulting’s full Feasibility Report below:

To get in touch with WMTT, write to them at: moanatrail@gmail.com