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.