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.

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