The Residents Association has made significant progress on two of its major projects this year, and represented the community’s interests in a number of forums and with Porirua City Council.
Porirua City Council’s (PCC) Village Planning programme is currently the source of most of the Association’s funds for village projects. PCC’s financial year straddles the Residents’ Association’s annual reporting period, so we have two separate village planning budgets each year. In the first half of 2019, we were still spending some of the money allocated in 2018:
- Community garden — $7,000
- He Ara Pukerua — $14,500
- Te Araroa wayfinding signage — $2,500 (across two years)
- Ara Harakeke shared pathway extension — $5,000 (plus $40,000 capital funding from PCC’s roading budget). This was not spent, but has been carried over into 2019/20, when we hope this work can finally be done.
In 2019/20, we did not get all the money we asked for. However, we have a generous amount for our main projects:
- Community garden — $4,000 for capital works only (buildings and other structures)
- He Ara Pukerua — $15,000
- Drinking fountain at skatepark/train station — $20,000
- Ara Harakeke shared pathway extension — $45,000 (carried over from last year).
PCC had previously allocated $4,750 to a ‘community connectedness’ project the Pukerua Bay Hub wants to undertake, with the first stage being research into the extent of loneliness and isolation in the community and a local programme of activities to reduce it. This has been carried over into this financial year. We hope to be able to support the Hub on this project.
We are in the process of preparing a new village plan for Pukerua Bay as the current one is several years old and needs updating.
He Ara Pukerua
The He Ara Pukerua heritage group has completed another productive year.
The highlight was the unveiling of two information panels at the beach in August. Over 70 residents and visitors turned up to see Mayor Mike Tana and Councillor Dale Williams support us as we celebrated more of this village’s colourful past. The words and pictures were mostly due to the excellent research by Margaret and Ashley Blair, with verification by Paul FitzGerald and Jay Eden, complemented by Pauline Morse’s paintings.
Another major milestone was the launch of the 2019 calendar themed as “Our People, Our Place.”
One discovery by Margaret was the 1954 Te Rauoterangi Trophy, which had been part of the Pukerua Bay Surf Life Saving Club. It was found in Titahi Bay after its own sea rescue. It has been donated by NZ Surf Life Saving and is currently being restored before going on permanent display at our local RSA.
The He Ara Pukerua group has collaborated with Greater Wellington Regional Council in repainting the Muri Station shelter on the south bound side before it reverts to becoming the responsibility of the Residents Association. It will become another heritage site with information panels on the inside telling the history of rail in Pukerua Bay.
In the future we are planning more display panels around the village, support for the Museum section of the Pukerua Bay School, and we have a shared project with Ngāti Toa.
Community garden and food forest
The 35 fruit trees and numerous support trees planted in the middle of last year are establishing well and survived their first summer as a result of a keen group of people on a watering roster. The garden group is moving into the second phase of planting to establish the next ‘guild’ of trees and planting the lower layers in the one established last year, which is planned for autumn 2020. This is part of the long-term plan to establish the plantings as a permaculture style food forest, which will take several years to achieve.
There are now two buildings on site. We were able to move the old Muri Station shelter that had been on Pamela Meeking-Stewart’s property (the ‘Woolshed’) since the station was closed in 2011. We are very grateful to Pamela for allowing it to stay there for so long — it was much longer than any of us anticipated when it was moved off the platform. The money in the 2019/20 year’s PCC Village Plan budget is for us to restore this shed to a usable condition. PCC also used village planning money to buy a small container for us to use as a secure, waterproof, storage shed, and this is starting to fill up with tools and supplies.
Funding is now more of an issue. We are unlikely to get much more money through the village plan budget now that the garden is becoming established, and the group is looking at other sources of money; largely this will be grants, and fundraising efforts by the group.
There is a group of keen people involved. We want to thank Rob Oscroft for taking on the job of driving the group forward in the past 18 months. He led the work to plan and plant the first part of the orchard and worked closely with PCC to obtain the materials we needed. We now have a group of people involved in the on-going management of the garden, and Rob has been able to step back from full responsibility for coordinating all the work.
Te Araroa signage
The escarpment walk continues to be popular with visitors, and we have worked with PCC and Te Araroa Trust to install signs between the end of the track at Muri Road and Pukerua Bay train station. Negotiating with KiwiRail takes time, but nearly all the signs are now in place and walkers should be less likely to get lost between the end of the track and the train station.
The drinking fountain to be installed at Pukerua Bay station is part of support for people using the track, as well as locals, and we hope to get another one at the end of Muri Road.
Pukerua Bay Hall
In the middle of the year, the School Board of Trustees and the Residents Association’s Hall Committee agreed on a new hall policy that gave full management of the hall to the school and provided a way forward which maintains the community’s connection to the hall.
The new policy was based on the previous one but removed the role of the community in managing the use and bookings of the hall outside of school hours. The school now manages all the bookings, while the Principal will consult the Residents Association, as the community representatives, on what the hall income will be spent on each year. The school Principal will provide the Residents Association and Board of Trustees with financial reports at least twice a year, including one for the Association’s AGM. The Association will collect suggestions from the community on what the hall income could be spent on, and any improvements people will like to be made to the hall. It’s intended that all the hall income will be spent each year and not accumulate in the school’s bank account. Major work on the hall will be part of the school’s property plan agreed with the Ministry of Education.
The hall will continue to be available for community use when the school is not using it.
The hall will be formally named the “Pukerua Bay Hall”, and both groups would like to see a suitable name sign installed, along with some information about the hall’s history.
We had been in discussions on a settlement since late last year and are pleased we were able to resolve the dispute, which at times had been difficult, before the new Board of Trustees was elected.
The Residents Association and Hall Committee members were disappointed that the community lost the shared management role. The two parties did not resolved the status of accumulated funds that had built up over many years. However, given the legal status of the hall and the strong feelings in both the school and wider communities, we believe the outcome is an acceptable compromise that has brought an end to the conflict over this issue. Everyone involved has agreed to work to make future relations successful.
We made several submissions to Porirua City Council about some of their plans. These included: the review of the District Plan, which should be finalised next year; the thirty-year growth strategy, which has significant impacts on the northern end of Porirua between Pukerua Bay and Plimmerton; and Plimmerton Farm development.
Plimmerton Farm development
This development next to Camborne is going to have a significant impact on the surrounding communities and environment, and we are keeping a close eye on it. We work closely with the Friends of Taupō Swamp and Catchment, Friends of Pauatahanui Inlet, and the Queen Elizabeth Trust (owners of most of the Taupō swamp) in discussions with the developers and PCC to ensure there will be a high environmental standard in the development. We have also discussed with PCC the need to ensure there is early planning for social facilities, such as a primary school to avoid undue pressure on the surrounding schools as the population grows, which is projected to be an extra 5000 people when the new community is complete.
Other local developments
There are two other developments planned locally: one on Mt Welcome (the deer farm) and another smaller one on Muri Road. Either of these could have impacts on the surrounding environment and roading, and we will keep an eye on them, as well.
I would like to thank the members of the Executive Committee – Brian Sullivan (Deputy Chair), Nikky Winchester (Secretary), June Penhey (Treasurer), Jonathan Harker, Kate Dreaver, Pauline Morse, Paul FitzGerald, Mel Galletly and David Olsen – for the work they have done during the year. We were all shocked at David’s unexpected death this year, and have extended our condolences to Jenny and the rest of their family. He was a good person and made a valuable contribution to the community with his persistence on the issue of trucks using their engine brakes in the village.
Once again, we have achieved a lot this year. I would also like to thank the PCC staff, particularly Village Projects Coordinator Bill Inge, and PCC and Greater Wellington councillors who attend our meetings and support our community in many ways.
31 October 2019