The friendly seaside community ‘where people always greet you with a smile’


Mary Biggs is the operations manager of Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival.

Jen Olson

Mary Biggs is the operations manager of Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival.

A quick chat with Mary Biggs, operations manager of Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival, running June 8-12, 2022.

What’s one place you’d take every visitor to in NZ and why?

Besides the Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival, you mean? The Wairarapa south coast, every time. I take friends and family to the Lake Ferry Hotel for the freshest fish and chip lunch, then onto the iconic Ngawi fishing village and Cape Palliser lighthouse before a lovely, meandering drive back to Featherston.

What’s your secret backyard favourite spot?

I just love Riversdale Beach and the road trip out there. There are so many gorgeous trees and beautiful old established farms on the way there. And I love the thought of spending time in a small, friendly seaside community where you can walk across farmland and on the white sand beach, and people always greet you with a smile.

* The best foodie experiences in the Wairarapa
* A place to stay: The Royal Hotel, Featherston
* World Famous in New Zealand: Wairarapa’s Featherston Booktown Festival

What’s your fave place for a pie/coffee?

I can’t go past C’est Cheese in Featherston for a Remutaka Pass coffee and one (or three!) of their insanely good cheese scones. And after I’ve brushed the scone crumbs off, I stock up on their house-made cheese and all sorts of other delicious deli treats.

What’s one NZ spot on the top of your bucket list?

The Catlins – I really want to visit the three tiny bookshops in Manapōuri run by the writer, Ruth Shaw. Ruth’s new memoir The Bookseller at the End of the World features her adventurous life and the characters who visit her bookshops. I’m aiming to be in her next book, but may have to settle for an autograph.

Staying safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Follow the instructions at