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Celebrating Te Manawa – the vibrant heart of our city centre

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Porirua’s city centre has a new name – Te Manawa – gifted by Ngāti Toa Rangatira to reflect its transformation.

Te Manawa means a central place where many people gather, and their hearts beat as one, says Mayor Mike Tana.

“The name reflects our vision of a city centre that is the vibrant heart of our community, now and for future generations,” he said.

“The gifting of Te Manawa is also a symbol of the strong, enduring partnership between Ngāti Toa and Porirua City.”

Te Manawa covers the area from the entrance to the city, to the harbour, from Titahi Bay Road to Porirua Stream, and everything in between.

A celebration of Te Manawa will be held in Cobham Court on Saturday 16 March, with free activities and fun for the whole whānau.

“Just as Te Manawa is the central place that connects all the villages that make up our city, everyone is invited to come and celebrate with us,” Mayor Tana said.

The day will start at 8am with an opening ceremony by Ngāti Toa Rangitira and a blessing of the area recognising its history. 

From 11am to 3pm there’ll be activities and entertainment for all, with live music, dance performances, bouncy castles, face painting, diggers, vintage cars, emergency services vehicles, virtual reality experiences, food trucks, prizes, giveaways and more.

Children from each of Porirua’s distinct villages will join together at 11 to cut a cake and begin the celebrations.

“This is a big day for Porirua, marking the next step in our city centre’s journey, and the celebration will reflect that,” Mayor Tana said.

Changes in the city centre include new paving, seating, planting, CCTV cameras and lighting, and the centre piece stingray shelter – a large covered stage for use at events and night markets – referencing the stingray abundant in and around Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour.

New businesses have opened and more are in the pipeline.

A highlight of the space is the new playground which is already proving a hit with youngsters.

“We worked with Ngāti Toa Rangatira to develop a playground that reflects the activities that took place here before the area was reclaimed. It’s made up of sea shells, pipis, sea grasses and other sea life, as it sits on the former harbour’s edge.

“This helps tell the story of Ngāti Toa for future generations.”

A Pou whenua, carved by Hermann Salzmann of Ngāti Toa, will be unveiled at the opening.

“It bears the name Te Manawa and features a stone from the maunga Rangituhi to represent the mauri – life force – of the revitalised city centre.”

The next stage of the plan will be upgrading the paving in Serlby Place, installing new seating, planting trees and creating more outdoor spaces that people, cafēs and businesses can use. 

Existing and new connections to the harbour will also be enhanced.

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7 Mar 2019