Masterton Trust Lands Trust (MTLT) is a unique community-owned charitable trust governed by the Masterton Trust Lands Act 2003.

The Trust was formed in 1872, born out of the Small Farms Association which established Masterton and Greytown. Unsold land in each township was set aside for trusts to administer, with the income devoted to educational and other public utility purposes for the town’s people.

Today, our elected trustees are responsible for ensuring the Trust’s assets are cared for and used appropriately to benefit the community.

Our purpose

Our primary purpose is to manage a large property portfolio entrusted to us to benefit the people of Masterton. Our focus, set out in legislation, is to support educational, art, and cultural opportunities for our community.

Profits from the Trust’s commercial property rental income are returned to the community in the form of grants – commercial property for community good.

    Our vision

    A future where every person in Masterton has the opportunity to achieve to their fullest potential through exposure to education, art and culture.

    Our mission

    To inspire life-long learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen our communities through enduring support to education, art and culture for the benefit of the people of Masterton.

      Our values

      We remain true to the intentions of Masterton’s early settlers who, more than 150 years ago, secured land to support future generations in educational, cultural and community activities.

      We embody these intentions through our values –

      • Accountability – to the people of Masterton (our owners), and our tenants.
      • Advancement – providing extraordinary educational and cultural opportunities for Masterton people.
      • Education – working with the community to support accessible life-long learning opportunities.
      • Legacy – honouring the vision of Masterton’s early settlers in securing land so that future generations may benefit.
      • Professionalism – applying expertise to grow the Trust’s assets to maximise returns to the community.
      • Stewardship – making responsible decisions to care for resources in our care.

      Our legacy

      The original £165 parcel value of the Trust lands has grown into a significant holding of commercial land and buildings in and around the centre of Masterton, valued in 2023 at more than $100 million.

      The Trust returns income from property rentals to the local community via grants for educational, cultural and community activities. This has played a key role in the evolution of Masterton.

      Two books were published to mark the Trust’s 125th and 150th anniversaries –

      • Fortuitous Legacy, 1872–1997 by Alan Henderson
      • Continuing Legacy, 1997–2022 by Gareth Winter

      Both books are available to purchase from the Trust, email trust@mtlt.org.nz

      Learn more about our 150th celebrations

      Download an infograph of 150 years of Masterton Trust Lands Trust

      Reconstruction of the Star Block by C.E. Daniell Ltd, 1896 - Wairarapa Times Age

      Reconstruction of the Star Block by C.E. Daniell Ltd,
      1896 – Wairarapa Times Age