Wai­tan­girua Mall’s glory days re­called

Kapi-Mana News - - FLASHBACK -

This week looks in depth at a great his­toric photo posted on the ‘‘Porirua’’ facebook page. These days the Wai­tan­girua Mall is a qui­eter place and peo­ple post­ing on the Facebook page re­mem­bered a much dif­fer­ent time.

We couldn’t re­sist us­ing the photo of Wai­tan­girua Mall posted by Te’a Lu­tau, who re­mem­bered the mall as a much busier place than it is now.

‘‘The good ol days, where it was a ‘one stop’ shop for ev­ery­thing, su­per­mar­ket, bank, video store and spa­cie par­lour,’’ he said.

The Write Price su­per­mar­ket, which oc­cu­pied a space at the mall, was named for its cus­tom of sup­ply­ing pens so cus­tomers could write the price on their gro­cery items.

These days the Wai­tan­girua Mall is a qui­eter place and peo­ple post­ing on the Facebook page re­mem­bered a much dif­fer­ent time, but still one where the cen­tre was the heart of the com­mu­nity.

Teina Pur­die re­called do­ing the weekly shop­ping with her mother on Fri­day nights.

‘‘It was fun writ­ing the price on the cans. I even re­mem­ber a line of peo­ple wait­ing to get a taxi home with their shop­ping,’’ she said.

Katey Reynish-Sal­mond said she used to love writ­ing the prices on gro­cery items and would draw pic­tures on the tins for the women who worked on the check outs.

Ac­cord­ing to Tracey Steel, the pens pro­vided by the su­per­mar­ket could lead to mis­chief. – ‘‘They even­tu­ally took the pens away be­cause peo­ple were draw­ing all over ev­ery­thing.’’

It was the carpark out­side the mall that made an im­pres­sion on Lynne Kononen.

‘‘What I re­mem­ber most is the kids play­ing touch rugby in the huge car park.

‘‘We raised ‘em tough in the Creek,’’ he said.

Write Price Su­per­mar­ket oc­cu­pied the Wai­tan­girua Mall from the mid-1970s un­til the rise of Porirua City’s shop­ping precinct in the 1990s sounded the death knell.

Tawahi Tapu said he loved the mall and re­mem­bered it be­ing the place to hang out on a Fri­day night.

Ja­son Win­ters re­mem­bered the shop­ping mall as the place to go to get fire­works.

‘‘It even had Toy­world in the mall.

‘‘It was the place to get dou­ble happy’s be­fore all the dairies started sell­ing them.’’

Paii Jack­son harked back to the early 80s when the mall pro­vided a place for teenagers to so­cialise.

‘‘We all used to get to­gether and do our break danc­ing moves.’’

Un­able to com­pete with the new shop­ping precinct the su­per­mar­ket closed and the mall in­te­rior be­came a ghost town.

The out­side of the build­ings soon be­came the tar­get for graf­fiti and fell into dis­re­pair.

In 2010 Porirua City Coun­cil funded the cre­ation of the $998,000 Wai­tan­girua Com­mu­nity Park, which takes pride of place in front of the mall.

The fol­low­ing year, own­ers of the mall signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the coun­cil to sup­port the com­mu­nity in an on­go­ing clean-up of the shop­ping area.

That same year the out­side of the mall was given a make-over by com­mu­nity vol­un­teers with paint sup­plied from the mall owner.

The Ti­tahi Bay Li­ons suc­cess­fully moved their pop­u­lar Satur­day mar­ket to the Wai­tan­girua Mall car park last year.

This year Wai­tan­girua Mall’s first fam­ily res­tau­rant, The Hun­gry Tiki, was opened by Jimmy and Shar­ifa Isaako.

Wai­tan­girua Mall in the 1970s.

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