Go care­ful with im­age

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

The pro­posed ‘‘ im­age makeover’’ for Porirua City got a lot of mileage in the me­dia last week – more than the city coun­cil had bar­gained for. The mar­ket­ing strat­egy to at­tract 9600 more res­i­dents by 2031 gen­er­ated a lot of con­trast­ing opin­ions on­line, on talk­back and in the streets, from staunch lo­cals and haters alike.

Porirua’s rep­u­ta­tion in the re­gion, na­tion, and yes, even in some of our own sub­urbs, has been neg­a­tive for a long time, and noth­ing to date, from ‘‘amaz­ing’’ catch­phrases to in­ter­na­tional awards, has stopped the rot.

I’m all for fresh ideas but I’m not sure about this new ap­proach. It ap­pears to pro­mote the in­di­vid­ual vil­lages for prospec­tive home-buy­ers and es­chew the rest. Does it not val­i­date the snob­bery of those res­i­dents, real es­tate agents and me­dia who lo­cate Plim­mer­ton or Ti­tahi Bay as be­ing ‘‘north of Welling­ton’’?

Try­ing to bridge the gaps be­tween var­i­ous sub­urbs, be they phys­i­cal, so­cio-eco­nomic or cul­tural, is part of our role as a com­mu­nity news­pa­per in Porirua. It may not al­ways hap­pen but our hope is to help readers gain a greater aware­ness and in­ter­est in their wider com­mu­nity.

It’s great to feel pride in your own lit­tle com­mu­nity – and Porirua City Coun­cil’s vil­lages pro­gramme has been a mas­sive suc­cess – but it’s also mean­ing­ful to be part of some­thing big­ger. We would hate to see our iden­tity as a city bro­ken down, rel­e­gated to the mar­gins or put in the ‘‘toohard’’ bas­ket.

I feel the im­pact of Porirua’s neg­a­tive rep­u­ta­tion is of­ten over­stated. If you live and work in Welling­ton, the big­gest draw­back about mov­ing to Porirua is the rush-hour com­mute – and no num­ber of pretty beaches is go­ing to make the crawl any quicker.

Porirua should at­tract 10,000 more res­i­dents by 2031 but wouldn’t the big­gest fac­tor be the abun­dance of land ripe for res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment while Welling­ton and the Hutt are run­ning out?

And peo­ple will al­ways beat on other peo­ple’s cities be­cause it’s a fun thing to do. As for this ‘‘P-town’’ busi­ness – it is not part of the mar­ket­ing strat­egy and has lit­tle po­ten­tial be­yond lo­cal us­age. Folks in Palmer­ston North also use the term, and hav­ing lived there for three years I’d be more con­cerned with that con­nec­tion than pure metham­phetamine.

Matthew Dal­las, ed­i­tor

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