Time has rung many changes
Porirua City councillors were a lot more formal – and more male – in 1974. For one thing, look how many wore a tie for the first council meeting of the new term.
John Burke was one of the younger members of that council. He has gone on to have a massive council career, as a councillor from 1971 till 1977, deputy mayor from 1977 till 1983 and mayor from 1983 till 1998. He’s back on the council again, having stood in the Eastern ward in the 2013 election.
‘‘Things were different back then,’’ Burke said. ‘‘It was more sophisticated and there were fewer show ponies.’’
But despite differences, the council still operated as it did in the 1970s, and still got things done, he said.
Burke said when he became a councillor there were more committees and about three meetings a month. The council chambers were roughly the same, except for the sixth floor, which was used for social events. It is now office space.
‘‘The mayor was on about $4000 a year and councillors were getting $5 a meeting.’’
Asked what else had changed, Burke noted that today three or four councillors had been through tertiary education. Back then it did not seem as important.
‘‘That’s something that has changed in the last 20 years.’’
He also noted the sartorial splendour of the 1970s. ‘‘I’ve always worn a tie, but there are some councillors now who don’t always wear one.’’
He said that after the 1974 photo (above) was taken, everyone was sworn in, a deputy mayor was appointed, and they all got on with several other items that were on the agenda.
‘‘There was no mucking around. Now it’s a much more social occasion.’’
The 1974 council included noted New Zealanders Gary McCormick, who became a radio and television personality, and former All Black prop Ken Gray. ‘‘They were really good guys,’’ Burke said. ‘‘Gary was pretty independent and quite a left wing person.
‘‘Ken and I were really good friends and were on a couple of boards together.’’
Whitford Brown was the mayor from 1965 till 1983. He was the first mayor of Porirua City.