Deep con­nec­tion with Porirua

Kapi-Mana News - - FEATURE -

un­til I was ap­proached to sub­mit a pro­posal. We lined up against sev­eral other de­vel­op­ers from around the North Is­land. I think Car­rus’ track record won us the right to pur­chase the land from Porirua City Coun­cil. I’d like to think we have trans­formed res­i­den­tial hous­ing in Porirua and have been an im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to the city’s in­come, and job cre­ation.

Was it dif­fi­cult to get the project un­der­way? Any mis­giv­ings about de­vel­op­ing there?

Get­ting con­sents, or per­mits it was back then, was a lot less ar­du­ous, but fund­ing was sim­i­lar to now. Most other as­pects of de­vel­op­ing have got more dif­fi­cult. Aotea needed sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket­ing, but the re­sult speaks for it­self – I’m proud of the out­come and there’s more to come.

Did the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis af­fect Aotea or Sil­ver­wood?

Like ev­ery­where, sales slowed and we had to cut our cloth as re­quired. To be a land de­vel­oper in New Zealand means you have to be able to weather the storm of fi­nan­cial cy­cles. Porirua has been pretty good in terms of sell­ing de­vel­oped land, com­par­ing favourably with other North Is­land re­gions.

Has deal­ing with Porirua City Coun­cil been a smooth ride?

Like all lo­cal coun­cils, Porirua has its mo­ments. It’s fair to say the may­ors, chief ex­ec­u­tives and se­nior man­age­ment have been good to deal with, as have se­nior coun­cil­lors, such as Ken Dou­glas.

Were you sad to see the demise of Todd Mo­tors in the late 1990s?

I had shifted to Tau­ranga by then, but I still had a con­sult­ing en­gi­neer­ing prac­tice in Lower Hutt. I had my hand in many res­i­den­tial sub­di­vi­sions in the Welling­ton re­gion. Hav­ing spent more than two years on site, build­ing all the roads and car parks and gar­dens, it was up­set­ting to re­alise the sit­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially for the fam­i­lies in eastern Porirua who re­lied on Todd Mo­tors to sur­vive. It must have been a soul-destroying time for the Todd fam­ily and man­age­ment, plus all the loyal work­ers.

What do you think of the di­rec­tion Porirua is headed?

Porirua has had to suf­fer be­ing bi­sected by State High­way 1, which has cre­ated many con­nec­tiv­ity is­sues. [ Mayor] Nick Leggett and the se­nior coun­cil man­age­ment are try­ing very hard to re­vi­talise the city and im­prove eco­nomic devel­op­ment, and are to be con­grat­u­lated.

Is Porirua a place you could call home?

I come from Lower Hutt and have lived in Tau­ranga since 1982. I sup­port the Hur­ri­canes and never al­low any­one to say deroga­tory things about Welling­ton. I love vis­it­ing, and I’m here ev­ery few weeks, be­cause I’m the chair­man of IHC’s prop­erty com­pany, on the board of The Cor­re­spon­dence School and have build­ing and devel­op­ment projects here. I would never live per­ma­nently in Welling­ton again be­cause the cli­mate in Tau­ranga is warmer.

How im­por­tant has it been for Car­rus to be in­volved in com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Ti­tahi Golf Club and North­ern United?

It’s all part of sup­port­ing a com­mu­nity in which you work. It’s been great to have that as­so­ci­a­tion with Norths, as they’ve won the Ju­bilee Cup in re­cent years and pro­duced All Blacks.

It must be ex­cit­ing to be work­ing with Ngati Toa over the po­ten­tial devel­op­ment of the old Porirua Hos­pi­tal site.

It’s a work in progress and it will take at least a year to get the plan­ning process through the coun­cil. Po­ten­tially, it is not only an­other 500 houses, but an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity for medium- high den­sity devel­op­ment and a five-minute walk to Porirua Rail­way Sta­tion.

What do you think of the Porirua 50th birth­day ac­tiv­i­ties?

It’s a fan­tas­tic chance to cel­e­brate where the city has come from. We’re the ma­jor spon­sor of the Pataka ex­hi­bi­tion, We Built This City.

So, Porirua oc­cu­pies a big place in your heart, then?

Porirua City has been a big part of my work­ing life for 45 years and has been kind to me. In re­turn, I think I have helped cre­ate the qual­ity of life now be­ing af­forded to many in the new de­vel­op­ments.

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