Mem­o­ries of the Univer­sity on theHill


The Kapi-Mana News Flash­back can take many guises.

Some­times it might be an old photo we’ve un­earthed from our ar­chives and have no con­text or clue about who’s in it, other times we might re-visit an old is­sue, event or per­son that shaped his­tory in Porirua or Tawa.

Of­ten we run a his­tor­i­cal photograph.

What­ever the Flash­back is, we al­ways ask for com­ments and mem­o­ries via so­cial me­dia, and last week’s photograph of Todd Park was fer­tile ground.

Todd Park cast a huge shadow over Porirua from 1973 to 1998.

An enor­mous Mit­subishi as­sem­bly plant, it was named ‘‘The Univer­sity on the Hill’’ by au­thor Neil Pen­man for its ded­i­ca­tion to staff ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing.

Ev­ery year when Todd Park was in full oper­a­tion, some $13 mil­lion in wages and salaries flowed into the Porirua basin.

Twenty-five kitchen staff had the task of feed­ing 1500 work­ers daily, with 520 litres of morn­ing and af­ter­noon tea towed be­hind a fork­lift on 12 trol­leys.

The Pen­mans’ bril­liant book Por­trait of Porirua, re­leased last year, de­votes an en­tire chap­ter to the plant and its in­flu­ence on the city. Neil him­self doc­u­mented Todd Park’s his­tory and demise in

Aan ear­lier book.

The com­plex touched the lives of most of Porirua in one way or another and that was ev­i­dent by the dozens of mem­o­ries left on our Face­book page.

Al­fie Col­lier said his par­ents worked at Todd Park and he would likely be too if it hadn’t closed down.

He said it was the place to be for Christ­mas func­tions be­cause all the chil­dren were given

FLASH­BACK ‘‘Man, how I re­mem­ber this place. They were good old days.’’


‘‘Man, how I re­mem­ber this place. They were good old days,’’ he said.

Porirua City coun­cil­lor Izzy Ford said many of her fam­ily mem­bers worked there and also re­mem­bered swim­ming lessons in the com­plex’s pool.

‘‘You could al­most guar­an­tee if kids didn’t choose to go to univer­sity, they would have em­ploy­ment there,’’ she said.’’

Richard Sid­ney Travers re­called a bus load of work­ers trav­el­ling from Otaki each day to Porirua.

Neve Spiers had a num­ber of con­nec­tions with Todd Park, in­clud­ing help­ing his dad there.

‘‘My dad was grounds­man there most of my child­hood and

– Al­fie Col­lier Todd Park was Porirua’s big­gest em­ployer for 25 years.

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