Happiness is evident
Porirua fared respectably in the latest Quality of Life survey, which suggests we are a pretty happy, low-stress lot, in touch with our fellow residents.
Our feeling of a sense of community with others in our neighbourhood – 63 per cent – rated higher than any of the other five cities surveyed. Lower Hutt was next best on 55 per cent.
Of course, given the other cities in the survey were metropolitan hubs – Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch – it would have been a concern if Porirua and the Hutt had not performed well in this category. Smaller cities, closer ties.
Sense of community is more prevalent among residents aged over 50 and under 25, highest among Asian/Indian residents (78 per cent) and lowest, but still solid, among Europeans (60 per cent).
Interestingly, the less money people earn, the more connected to their community they appear to be; 83 per cent of those with a household income between $20,000 and $40,000 felt connected to their community, compared to just 55 per cent of households earning $70,000 to $100,000.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett trumpeted the positive community score in defence against the not-soimpressive numbers concerning residents’ pride in the city, which limped in at 52 per cent, ahead of only Lower Hutt (49 per cent) and a derelict Christchurch (33 per cent).
Though the six-city average was only 58 per cent – buoyed by Wellingtonians’ cult-like devotion to the wind (86 per cent) – Porirua residents’ ambivalence to their surroundings appears to correlate with some inflated perceptions of crime.
Despite the Kapiti-Mana police district being reported to have the lowest crime rates in the region, Porirua was in the top three in all but one perceived crime category.
Skewed perceptions of Porirua are coming just as freely from within the city as from the media and naysayers outside it.
And the cultural disparity in some of the findings suggest that though we may be well-connected to others in our neighbourhood, ties with people a few neighbourhoods over could do with some work.
Take the much-maligned central business district where 42 per cent of residents feel safe at night. This drops to about a third among northern ward folk and Europeans, whereas eastern ward residents and Pacific people feel much safer in the city after dark (59 and 65 per cent respectively).