Writ­ers’ Walk plans stalled

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By SOPHIE LEGGETT

A pro­posed Writ­ers’ Walk, laud­ing cel­e­brated Porirua au­thors such as Noel Hil­liard, Pa­tri­cia Grace and Te Rau­paraha has taken a back seat.

The project was ini­tially pre­sented to Porirua City Coun­cil by the Porirua Com­mu­nity Arts Coun­cil in Fe­bru­ary 2012.

Fund­ing was con­firmed that year, and the project was in­cluded in the city’s long-term plan as part of the City Cen­tre Re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion project.

How­ever, the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion project has stalled ow­ing to the coun­cil con­sid­er­ing new con­sul­tants for the job. That has left the main driv­ers be­hind the walk won­der­ing what will hap­pen.

Phil O’Con­nell, a mem­ber of the Art’s Coun­cil writ­ers’ walk sub­com­mit­tee, said he was con­cerned the project had come to a halt.

Al­though it hadn’t been hard to get strong sup­port for the project, it had been dif­fi­cult to gain fund­ing, he said.

The pro­posed walk, with sta­tions com­prised of benches or stones to put plaques on, is to be a com­mem­o­ra­tion of writ­ers with links to Porirua, sim­i­lar to one on the Welling­ton wa­ter­front.

Con­cepts were de­signed by Whi­tireia de­sign stu­dents in 2010, and in­cor­po­rated Pa­cific and Maori de­signs.

The walk was en­vis­aged to start along Wi­neera Dr, and the plan is to ex­tend it along the fore­shore, and pos­si­bly have sta­tions in Pare­mata, Pau­ata­hanui and Ti­tahi Bay.

O’Con­nell said it was ap­pro­pri­ate, given the area, that Te Rau­paraha was one of the first sta­tions, though people didn’t typ­i­cally think of him as a writer.

‘‘His work [ Ka Mate haka] is prob­a­bly the most widely per­formed of any New Zealand au­thor,’’ he said.

Be­yond the first three pro­posed sta­tions, the com­mit­tee was look­ing to pay trib­ute to writ­ers and poets such as Sam Hunt, Gary McCormick, Michael King, El­iz­a­beth Knox and Rose­mary Wild­blood.

The com­mit­tee has held sev­eral events to pro­mote the project, and last year held a writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion for lo­cal pri­mary schools to cre­ate lit­er­ary aware­ness and en­cour­age chil­dren’s writ­ing.

‘‘It’s one thing to get adults in­volved, but if we don’t get kids in­volved, we’re not pre­par­ing for their fu­ture,’’ O’Con­nell said.

He said the next step would be to re­or­gan­ise the com­mit­tee, so it was more closely fo­cused and tied in with the new arts com­mit­tee.

Once the new com­mit­tee was up and run­ning, it would lobby the coun­cil to make sure fund­ing was avail­able.

Top of the list: Pa­tri­cia Grace and Te Rau­paraha would be early can­di­dates for a Porirua Writ­ers’ Walk.

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