A tale of two Porirua sub­urbs

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

The drive takes just 10 min­utes but the lo­ca­tions are a world apart.

At 1 Joseph Banks Drive, Whitby, is An­chor Church where, in 2014, 73 per cent voted Na­tional. It was then the bluest polling booth in Welling­ton.

The drive to 5 War­spite Av­enue in Porirua East is 7.3 kilo­me­tres. It is Labour’s Welling­ton strong­hold, where more than eight in 10 vot­ers went to the Can­nons Creek School polling booth and voted for the red team in 2014.

Across the road from the Can­nons Creek School on Wed­nes­day, Teariki Ngatupuna is butt-drag­ging a tai­lor-made cig­a­rette. He knows who he is vot­ing for.

‘‘Labour, they are for the peo­ple. Na­tional al­ways go for the busi­ness peo­ple.’’

On Kris Faafoi, the Labour in­cum­bent and a Ti­tahi Bay res­i­dent: ‘‘He is for the lit­tle peo­ple - peo­ple like us with lit­tle money.’’

Softly-spo­ken Leti­cia Naria doesn’t like the blue team. She likes the reds: ‘‘They sup­port peo­ple, es­pe­cially the Is­landers.’’

The Can­nons Creek shop­ping cen­tre is a hive of ac­tiv­ity and con­ver­sa­tion shortly af­ter 10am on Wed­nes­day.

Out­side the An­chor Church in Whitby it is a dif­fer­ent story. There are no pedes­tri­ans.

A late-model VW drives down Joseph Banks Dr and on to James Cook Dr while the sound of Twin­kle Twin­kle Lit­tle Star plays from the church hall.

In­side, local moth­ers are hav­ing a tod­dler mu­sic-and-dance ses­sion. Pas­tor Dar­ryl Ward is sit­ting in the foyer and is not sur­prised to hear the neigh­bour­hood - where he does not live but knows well - is so, so blue.

‘‘The peo­ple here are semipro­fes­sional/pro­fes­sional peo­ple. They prob­a­bly think Na­tional of­fer them the best op­por­tu­ni­ties to suit their life­styles.’’

The lo­cals were more con­cerned with the go­ings-on at the Porirua City Coun­cil than the Bee­hive, he said.

Faafoi and Na­tional’s Euon Mur­rell may not be great friends but are cor­dial when the meet at the Wai­tan­girua Mall - geo­graph­i­cally half way be­tween their two strong­est polling booths but still very much in the land of red (both in terms of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and gangs).

They dis­cuss bill­boards and which ones have been dam­aged. Paekakariki on the Kapiti Coast seems bad. Mur­rell had his yanked down even though he used those good hexag­o­nal bolts. Faafoi can sym­pa­thise.

Whitby is Mur­rell’s stomp­ing ground, though he now lives fur­ther north in Plim­mer­ton. His chil­dren grew up there and he re­mem­bers the re­sis­tance when Omapere St was put in, join­ing Whitby and Porirua East.

There was fear of prop­erty price drops and also the ‘‘fear of the un­known’’, both which proved un­founded.

He knew Whitby was his strong­hold but cam­paigned around the Mana elec­torate, which stretches from the air­port at Para­pa­raumu down to near Porirua Hospi­tal.

He reck­oned his time on Porirua City Coun­cil not only gave him name-recog­ni­tion in the Labour zone but also peo­ple there knew of his pas­sion for hous­ing and health - two things close to their hearts.

Faafoi like­wise had been cam­paign­ing in all his elec­torate, in­clud­ing Whitby, where he would be hop­ing for at least two votes - his mother and older brother lived there. He had though never asked them how they voted: ‘‘It’s rude to ask.’’

‘‘If we want to be the Gov­ern­ment we are go­ing to have to con­vince some of those An­chor Church peo­ple to change their vote,’’ he said.

Like Mur­rell, he reck­oned he could sym­pa­thise with all of the elec­torate - he had af­ter all been its MP since 2010.

Sta­tis­tics NZ data looked at the 60 house­holds in the same area block as the An­chor Church. Among the 192 peo­ple liv­ing there in the last Cen­sus, the av­er­age age was 40 and peo­ple earned about $43,800 per year.

The 45 peo­ple who lived in the same block as the Can­nons Creek school polling booth were, on av­er­age, close to 40 years old but had a me­dian per­sonal in­come of $25,800.

See Meet the Can­di­dates, page 8


Mana elec­torate can­di­dates, from left, Euon Mur­rell (Na­tional) and Kris Faafoi (Labour) face off.

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