Porirua arts scene boost

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

It’s been an im­por­tant few days for the arts scene in the Porirua re­gion. The long- dis­cussed per­form­ing arts cen­tre is a step closer to fruition and in ad­di­tion Porirua has been tar­geted as a suit­able site for cap­i­tal­is­ing on the in­creas­ing amount of film in­dus­try ac­tiv­ity tak­ing place in New Zealand.

As was noted at the coun­cil’s Te Komiti meet­ing last week, there has been talk of a per­form­ing arts cen­tre in Porirua for more than two decades.

Coun­cil of­fi­cers iden­ti­fied five pre­vi­ous re­ports on the sub­ject since 1994.

The need has long been iden­ti­fied, but no-one has been sure how to push ahead with the project.

Now, it seems, the stars are align­ing and a per­form­ing arts cen­tre will be built at Aotea Col­lege.

The cen­tre is part of a planned up­grade of the col­lege that will cost tens of mil­lions of dol­lars and will oc­cur grad­u­ally over the next decade or more.

It seems the arts cen­tre has been marked as as project that should hap­pen soon.

The coun­cil has in­di­cated it could put $ 1 mil­lion into its 2017-18 An­nual Plan to help fund the cen­tre.

It is call­ing for sub­mis­sions and a re­port is ex­pected by June 2016.

Aotea prin­ci­pal Kate Gains­ford was cor­rect in say­ing to the coun­cil last week that it made no sense to have a fab­u­lous per­form­ing arts cen­tre built and then for the doors to be locked at night, on week­ends and in school hol­i­days. It should be a com­mu­nity re­source, she said.

Coun­cil­lor Denys Latham called the idea of a joint part­ner­ship be­tween the coun­cil and the col­lege a ‘‘ no brainer’’, and he is right.

Let’s hope the mo­men­tum is main­tained and the project is stalled no longer.

Mean­while there was the ex­cit­ing news that the Gov­ern­ment and the new Welling­ton Re­gional Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Agency had iden­ti­fied Porirua as a suit­able site for more in­volve­ment in New Zealand’s bur­geon­ing film in­dus­try.

Els­don has been pin­pointed as a good cen­tre for post­pro­duc­tion and vis­ual ef­fects tech­nol­ogy, web- based and dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy, and high­value sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal devel­op­ment.

The cen­tre might be ei­ther a stand-alone fa­cil­ity or one that could be used to com­ple­ment oth­ers.

There is ev­i­dence that the num­ber of film pro­duc­tions com­ing to New Zealand is in­creas­ing and that more post­pro­duc­tion and other fa­cil­i­ties are needed.

Un­til now, Mi­ra­mar in Welling­ton and a pocket of west Auck­land have led the way in this area, but Porirua would seem to have many of the re­quire­ments if this sec­tion of the in­dus­try is to be ex­panded in New Zealand.

It is close to the cap­i­tal city – and the film cap­i­tal of New Zealand – it has plenty of space and prop­erty is not ex­or­bi­tantly priced.

And Porirua has a young pop­u­la­tion that has al­ways been very aware of the arts – just look at the va­ri­ety of artis­tic en­deav­ours on show at an event like Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments and the con­tin­u­ing suc­cess of Pataka Mu­seum for proof.

A closer tie with the film in­dus­try would be a good fit.

Hap­pily, to judge by their com­ments last week, coun­cil­lors seem aware of the pos­si­bil­i­ties and are ea­ger to grasp the op­por­tu­nity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.