New Zealand’s local government structural arrangements were significantly reformed by the Local Government Commission in 1989 when approximately 700 councils and special purpose bodies were amalgamated to create 87 new local authorities. Regional councils were reduced in number from 20 to 13, territorial authorities (city/district councils) from 200 to 75, and special purpose bodies from over 400 to 7.  The new district and city councils were generally much larger and most covered substantial areas of both urban and rural land. Many places that once had a city council were now being administered by a district council.
It did not quite qualify to be a city by 1989 when the minimum population requirement for that status was lifted from 20,000 to 50,000. The Wairarapa Line railway, which opened to Masterton on 1 November 1880, allows many residents easy access to work in the cities of Wellington, Lower Hutt and Upper after pioneer Joseph Masters, it was first settled by Europeans on 21 May 1854. It gained borough status in 1877, and the Masterton District is now part of the Greater Wellington industries involve service industries for the surrounding farming community. The town is the headquarters of the annual Golden Shears sheep-shearing competition.