An exhibition to be proud of
The celebrations for Porirua’s 50th birthday have been muted and we’ve recently taken aim at the apparent lack of organisation, planning and community input surrounding it all.
But a huge bouquet must go to the team at Pataka for setting up something that truly encapsulates the 50th.
Last week, Kapi-Mana News had a look at the Pataka exhibition to mark 50 years as a city – and it’s a triumph.
We Built This City, overseen by social history curator Alice Masters, manages to be both retro and modern, has a brilliant mat at the entranceway that will wow any visitor, and the layout has been carefully thought out to mirror the city’s geography.
No stone has been left unturned with the research. Masters said it was tough deciding which material not to have in the exhibition, which was formally opened on Sunday.
The boxes that are the centrepiece of the exhibition are a fantastic touch, representing the building blocks on which the city has been forged.
Although it is important to note Porirua’s state house links, the impact of Todd Motors and how roads and transport are critical to the city’s past – and future – this is an interactive exhibition that focuses on our suburbs and our people.
There is a case on the Windmill Quality Cake Shop, for example, and visitors can leave Post-it notes on the side of one box, with a short message on just what Porirua means to them.
Masters said the messages would not be just tossed later, but would eventually form part of the exhibition.
Another point that must be made is that Porirua companies were involved with the exhibition’s set-up.
DAC Group in Plimmerton did the great map at the entrance, Aspiring Walls sorted the brilliant feature walls – which show scenes from the different suburbs behind the writing – and Carrus Corporation, the developer of the Aotea Block, is the major exhibition partner.
Porirua Historical Society gave funding for one part of the exhibit and local businesses, sports clubs, community groups and even Kapi-Mana News have had a part in the exhibition.
We’re proud to be involved and more than pleased some of our photographs and news stories were considered part of the makeup of the city’s history.
You won’t see the word ‘‘local’’ in this newspaper much, but We Built This City is one that has been inspired by locals, organised by locals and set up for locals. It will have a much wider demand too, hopefully, with Pataka’s excellent visitor numbers no doubt attracted to the colour and style of the exhibition.
It is well known that Pataka has often had a see-saw battle between art and history, and we really hope that some of We Built This City finds a permanent home in one of the galleries.
Residents and visitors need somewhere tangible they can go for information about the city’s past, rather than just Google. It’s too good to pack away into boxes in a dusty cupboard.
What the exhibition will also serve to do is get people thinking about Porirua’s future.
Transmission Gully, the city centre upgrade and other major projects for our neighbourhoods are arriving fast, and they will change the face of this city forever. A 100th exhibition could have a very different feel.