Pos­i­tives by­passed

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

Not for the first time, Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett has crit­i­cised the me­dia for fu­elling neg­a­tive per­cep­tions of the city.

Porirua’s true char­ac­ter was been ig­nored, he told an au­di­ence of the busi­ness com­mu­nity on Thurs­day.

Mr Leggett’s frus­tra­tion must have gone into over­drive the next morn­ing when news of a baby left be­hind af­ter clos­ing at a Porirua day­care cen­tre be­came the water-cooler con­ver­sa­tion of the day.

‘‘Only in Porirua’’ some would have said with a shake of the head. An un­fair as­sess­ment of course but not an un­likely one from peo­ple out­side our city, who may still think of men­tal health pa­tients or stray kids roam­ing down at ‘‘the Cena’’ when pon­der­ing Porirua.

Mr Leggett is right, it doesn’t help ev­ery time a na­tional tele­vi­sion broad­caster re­ports the lat­est un­em­ploy­ment fig­ures or obe­sity trends, we’re treated to stock footage of some­body stum­bling about un­der the canopies.

Old con­no­ta­tions are hard to shake and eas­ily re­in­forced. Grow­ing up, my only per­cep­tion of Porirua was from Sam Hunt’s down­cast poem Porirua Fri­day Night. I had to work and live here be­fore it shook.

But I’m less both­ered by the news sto­ries that re­in­force Porirua’s bad name – we must own our prob­lems af­ter all – than I am by the pos­i­tive ones that go un­no­ticed or mis­rep­re­sented.

It’s ap­par­ently OK to be mur­dered or mis­man­aged in Porirua but as soon as you’re recog­nised for some­thing suc­cess­ful, you’re from some­where like Ti­tahi Bay, ‘‘near Welling­ton’’.

The me­dia is not the only cul­prit. Real es­tate agents reg­u­larly mar­ket Porirua prop­er­ties avoid­ing the ‘‘P’’ word and, as much as I en­joyed the Eat, Drink & Be Crafty fair, get real folks, Pau­ata­hanui is Porirua, not Welling­ton.

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