Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Porirua is a city and a harbour in New Zealand situated immediately north of Wellington, with the city centres about 20 km apart. The city completely surrounds the Porirua Harbour, part of which has world-class estuarine values. It is at the southern end of the Kapiti Coast, yet has considerable links with the Wellington urban area to the southwest, such as being included in "Wellington" for Met Service weather forecasts. The estimated population of Porirua City in 2004 is 50,000.
The name "Porirua" is of Maori origin. It is possibly a variant of "Pari-rua" ("two tides"), a reference to the two arms of the Porirua Harbour. It was the name given in the 19th century to a land registration district that stretched from Kaiwharawhara (or "Kaiwarra") (on the north-west shore of Port Nicholson) northwards to and around the Porirua Harbour. A road climbing the hill from Kaiwharawhara towards Ngaio and Khandallah is still called "Old Porirua Road".
In the 19th century a small Maori settlement existed, and a small European village grew up, partly because of the need for a ferry across the harbour. Late in that century the Porirua Mental Hospital was erected on the hill south-west of the village.
Originally planned to become a satellite city to Wellington with state housing in the late 1940s, Porirua has grown to a city population approaching 55,000. Major territorial additions to the city were made in 1973 and 1988 as part of the reduction and eventual abolition of the Hutt County.
Suburbs and features
Suburbs include Ascot Park, Cannons Creek, Elsdon (named after writer Elsdon Best ), Onepoto, Paremata, Pauatahanui , Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay (where film-maker Peter Jackson grew up), Ranui Heights, Takapuwahia (originally a Ngati Toa settlement), Titahi Bay, Waitangirua , and Whitby. Rural localities include Judgeford and Horokiri .
City administrative area
Local government in the area is shared by the Porirua City Council and the Wellington Regional Council. The name was first applied to a local government unit in 1961 when the Makara County in the western corner of Wellington was abolished, the mostly rural western part becoming the Makara Ward of the Hutt County and the rapidly growing eastern urban portion becoming the Borough of Porirua. Four years later, the population was officially estimated at over the 20,000 threshold necessary for Porirua to be declared a city.
On 1 April 1973, large areas to the north-east (and a few elsewhere) were transferred to the city (by popular vote) from the Hutt County, and Mana Island, which had not been under county control, was added too. In 1988 a further addition was the Horokiri riding of the about-to-be-abolished county, containing most of the new Whitby suburb and substantial rural areas.
The city and its council have remained into the 21st century despite a couple of proposals that the name be changed to "Mana" and several small movements for amalgamation with Wellington City. Local government in the area is shared by the Porirua City Council and the Wellington Regional Council.
Notable councillors of Porirua have included Whitford Brown (first Mayor); Ken Douglas (trade unionist); Ken Gray (former All Black); Garry McCormick (media personality); Helen Smith (the first member of the Values Party to be elected to local government; and Tutu Wineera (a kaumatua of the Ngati Toa iwi).
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