An ex­hi­bi­tion to be proud of

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

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.

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