History tells us
With the 2013 Festival of the Elements behind us, and Creekfest on March 9, it is interesting to reflect on previous community festivals in the greater Porirua basin.
Between 1970 and 1984 Porirua Community Arts Council’s predecessor, The Mana Arts Festival, presented month-long festivals throughout the basin every two years. Its aim was to highlight local talent and welcome contributions from everyone living in this diverse multicultural city.
Funding came from many community groups and businesses including Todd Motors and several breweries as well as Tawa Borough Council, Hutt County Council and Porirua City Council which was considering building a 600-seat theatre at that time.
Each Christmas the Porirua mayor hosted a function for all the Mana Arts Festival volunteers in recognition of the work they had done during that year.
The festivals always included joint music and drama productions from theatre groups in Tawa, Porirua/Titahi Bay, Mana and Pukerua Bay. These productions were designed to travel around the region, playing for a week in local theatres.
There were major school productions, multicultural concerts, floral art, rock operas, jazz concerts, folk dancing, sightseeing tours to historical sites and major visual arts displays and lectures throughout the area.
Alex Lindsay and Norman Gadd performed at the 1974 festival, and two years later the full New Zealand Symphony Orchestra played for a special schools’ concert at the old rec centre.
The Mana Arts Festivals opened up Porirua City as a major multicultural centre where the arts were celebrated and there was something for everyone, a tradition that paved the way for the multicultural festivals we come together to enjoy