MTLT celebrates 150 years

Jul 2022

To mark 150 years of Masterton Trust Lands Trust, in July 2022, a special event was held at Aratoi for current and former Trustees and staff, kaumātua and iwi representatives, local dignitaries and community leaders.

The formalities included speeches from then Trust chair Leanne Southey, who used the occasion to launch the Trust’s bold new vision for public art – announcing the first of a series of murals that would be created later that year on Trust-owned buildings in Masterton’s CBD.

Historian Gareth Winter told the story of the Trust and how it was formed following iwi negotiations with the Small Farms Association (the Trust’s precurser). He led a discussion with Nelson Rangi who shares ancestry on both sides, as a descendant of Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu chief Te Retimana Te Korou and Joseph Masters.

Guests were the first audience to view two new Aratoi exhibitions honouring the Trust’s achievements. A year-long exhibition Masterton Museum: A Cabinet of Curiosities showcased over 170 curios, objects and souvenirs collected and donated to Masterton Museum from the 1880s to 1954. Former Trust secretary Richard Brown established Masterton’s first museum, so the collection is inextricably linked to the Trust. 

Similarly, the Trust was the driving force behind Aratoi’s development. A two month exhibition Continuing Legacy: 150 Years of Masterton Trust Lands Trust displayed photos and historical documents in the public facing windows gallery tracing the Trust’s journey and influence on Masterton over a century and a half.

A new book was published to celebrate the Trust’s 150 years. Written by Gareth Winter, Continuing Legacy 1997-2022 is a companion to Fortuitous Legacy by Alan Henderson, printed for the Trust’s 125th anniversary.