Porirua his­tory comes alive

Kapi-Mana News - - FEATURE - By KRIS DANDO

Linda Fordyce has been talk­ing about Porirua’s his­tory for a long time, but it never gets bor­ing.

Pataka’s ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer is in the busy pe­riod of her popular Porirua his­tory First Foot­prints tour with schools. She re­cently took a group of school prin­ci­pals on the tour as well.

‘‘ They [ the prin­ci­pals] re­ally en­joyed it. I don’t think you can ever know too much about the his­tory of where you’re from, or where you work. Do­ing th­ese tours is the best part of my job.’’

Last week, Fordyce took Class SJ from Dis­cov­ery School, year 7 and 8 on the First Foot­prints tour.

The bus tour be­gan at the school in Whitby, went to the site of a whal­ing sta­tion in Ti­tahi Bay, near the waste­water treat­ment plant, stopped off at the Pare­mata Bar­racks on Ngati­toa Domain, then Plim­mer­ton, be­fore end­ing at St Al­ban’s Church in Pau­ata­hanui.

Fordyce asked the pupils, par­ents and staff to use their ‘‘eyes of the past’’ to imag­ine what life was like in Porirua from the 1830s till the 1860s.

She sup­ple­mented imag­i­na­tion with some sketches and maps of the times, in­clud­ing won­der­ful pic­tures of a bare Ngati­toa Domain and Te Rau­paraha in his fa­mous Bri­tish naval uni­form.

‘‘You have to make it in­ter­ac­tive and in­ter­est­ing or you can bore the pants off the kids,’’ she said.

‘‘What I’m try­ing to get across is that with the whal­ing and the Maori pop­u­la­tion here, Porirua was of huge strate­gic im­por­tance, much more so than Welling­ton.

‘‘Out there [Mana and Kapiti is­lands and Cook Strait] was the State High­way 1 of travel in those days, and whal­ing led to those first Euro­pean/Maori con­tacts.’’

Hav­ing a boys ver­sus girls pa­rade com­pe­ti­tion near the Pare­mata Bar­racks was fun for the Dis­cov­ery pupils – with the girls the re­sound­ing win­ners.

Emma Waine said Fordyce made learn­ing about the past fun and in­ter­est­ing. ‘‘It’s re­ally cool imag­in­ing what it was like then.’’

Ben Ainsley and Chris Scheep­ers said the tour was a valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘ I loved hear­ing about Te Rau­paraha be­ing held hostage and the whal­ing,’’ Ben said.

Some of the most in­ter­est­ing facts that pupils noted in­cluded:

The bush line com­ing down Colo­nial Knob was one of the ear­li­est map lines, from 1841.

High tide in Porirua used to come up to where the li­brary is now.

On very low tides you could walk from the main­land to Mana Is­land.

Cook Strait whal­ing was New Zealand’s first in­dus­try.

Ngati­toa Domain is Welling­ton’s old­est set­tled site.


At­ten­shun!: Linda Fordyce leads the pa­rade at Ngati­toa Domain.

His­tor­i­cal site: A lit­tle cove in Ti­tahi Bay, near the waste­water treat­ment plant, where whales were brought ashore by whalers.

Ngati­toa: Linda Fordyce gives Dis­cov­ery School stu­dents a run­down on the

his­tory of Pare­mata Bar­racks.

Mak­ing notes: Emma Waine, left, and Jemma Bezuiden­hout make notes af­ter one of the tour stops.

Talk­ing his­tory: Linda Fordyce in full flow on the bus.

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