Porirua arts scene boost
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.