Prolific British author Simon Winchester is hitting the road to Masterton as part of the Kick Up The Arts New Zealand Festival 2016.

Winchester is part of the Writers on the Road programme of the festival and will talk about his latest book, Pacific: The Ocean of the Future, at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History from 7pm on March 9, says festival spokeswoman Megan Duffy.

The festival is in its 30th year, she said, and had become the largest celebration of cutting-edge arts and culture and one of the five biggest festivals of its kind in Australasia.

The Writers on the Road event bringing Winchester to Wairarapa will be held in partnership with Masterton District Council, Carterton District Council, Greytown Trust Lands, Lands Trust Masterton, Trust House Community Enterprise and Hedley's Booksellers in Masterton.


Winchester is a popular US-based author who has penned 25 narrative non-fiction books on a diverse range of subjects since his earlier career with The Guardian covering numerous significant events, including Bloody Sunday and the Watergate Scandal.

He has also written a novel, and his articles have appeared in several travel publications including Smithsonian Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and National Geographic.

Tickets to the hour-long event cost $19 each and there will be a book signing afterward.

Other Wairarapa events on the festival calendar include The Modern Maori Quartet featuring James Tito, Matariki Whatarau, Maaka Pohatu and Francis Kora. The quartet will perform an evening repertoire at the Masterton Town Hall on Saturday, March 19 that spotlights classic Maori showband music "with a charming twist", Ms Duffy said.

The show is also part of the SchoolFest programme and will involve regional kapa haka group Wairarapa Ki Uta Ki Tai front of house, she said.

Tickets for The Modern Maori Quartet show cost $39 each for adults and $15 for children.

Another SchoolFest-affiliated show will be the international play Chalk About, which is a 50-minute production aimed at all ages, comprised of "part theatre, part dance" and all played out on a giant chalkboard stage, Ms Duffy said.

A Wairarapa school will have a presence onstage during the play, Ms Duffy said, and school-only tickets for Chalk About cost $18 each. The school show will be staged at Kuranui College in Greytown on March 8 at a 1.30pm matinee.

The On the Road performance of Chalk About will be staged at the same venue at 7pm the same day. Tickets cost $39 each for adults and $18 for children.

Another On the Road show in Wairarapa will be the "tall story" titled Waves, about how Australian Alice Mary Cooper invented the butterfly swimming stroke.

Waves plays at the Carterton Events Centre on March 3 at 7pm.

Tickets cost $39 each for adults and $18 each for children.

Tickets for all shows are available at and