Porirua putting best foot forward
The Mayoral Showcase of Porirua has been deemed such a success that plans are already afoot for a follow-up event in 2012.
Hosted by Porirua City Council and the Porirua Chamber of Commerce, the expo on September 10 saw more than 100 local businesses and community groups come together in Te Rauparaha Arena and promote themselves to the wider city.
Mayor Nick Leggett said the event was a big success and achieved a positive profile across the region.
‘‘I think that its pretty well acknowledged that its tough times economically, to bring Porirua together in one room, business and community groups, is positive. We’re not sitting back being depressed.’’
He said both the mayors for Lower Hutt and Kapiti attended and were impressed with the community interest it had sparked.
‘‘It will be back next year and we have a really solid base to build from.’’
Porirua Chamber of Commerce executive director Holly Thompson said the feedback she had received from businesses involved had been overwhelmingly supportive, ‘‘ a lot saying ‘sign us up for next year’’’.
‘‘I was over the moon with the commitment from businesses, creating their stalls, engaging with the public. The atmosphere was amazing – very interactive.’’
Unlike many business showcases, which seek to promote a city or industry to a wider market, the focus of the Mayoral Showcase was more inward – ensuring Porirua residents know what services are available in their own backyard.
‘‘There was a bit of that ‘Don’t leave home until you’ve seen the country’ logic. There was a strong feeling about supporting local businesses. Porirua is geographically scattered, we wanted to bring it all together.’’
Ms Thompson said a big reason for holding the event on a Saturday was to attract those residents who work in Wellington City and may not know what their hometown has to offer.
‘‘There’s no reason why people who work in Wellington can’t have their services delivered here. When they’re driving past Porirua each day it’s harder for them to know what’s available.’’
She said there were advantages to Wellington workers using local services, whether it be accountants, printers or consultants.
‘‘You could make it where your first or last meeting of the day is here . . . You would be a short distance from home, with beautiful views, that small town feel and free parking.’’
Ms Thompson said due to the way the venue worked, with both the aquatic centre open and a migrating kitchen cooking display in the hall, it was hard to gauge the number of visitors, but the stallholders were happy with the turnout.
Nailed it: Paremata School pupil Catriona Mackay-Freeman took advantage of many activities on offer at the showcase, getting her nails done and face painted as a Georgian flag by Whitireia’s beauty students, and decorating Windmill Bakery biscuits with her triplet sisters Siobhan and Thomina.
Business bonanza: Ruby Rangitaawa and Marshaila Rangitaawa helped celebrate local business at the Mayoral Showcase of Porirua.