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Thursday April 12, 2017

Bicultural boost for capital as artwork unveiled By Jamie Adams

Wellington City Council’s empty civic administration building has come alive with the unveiling of a new mural on a temporary hoarding that surrounds it. T h e m u r a l , c a l le d Ng ā Kākano: The Seeds, depicts representations of Maori ancestors, including the navigator Kupe, and those who came with and after him: Kuramarotini, Toi, Whatonga, Reretua, Hotuwaipara, Tara-ika, Tautoki and Wakanui. Council commissioned artist Johnson Witehira to create the mural, in conjunction with iwi collective Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika (TKM), as a way of not only breathing life into the earthquake-damaged building, but also enhancing Wellington’s bicultural heritage.

It’s official – big dry breaks November rain records Rainfall records for the month throughout the Wellington region fell faster than the rain as the region’s big dry really started to bite and summer made a grand entrance, Greater Wellington confirms. In most parts of the region you’d have to go back decades to match the low rainfall, and in parts of Otaki and Wainuiomata you’d need a time machine to match records set in 1890 and 1893. In fact, it was so dry that there were only four days with any recordable rain at Karori and Wainuiomata. The November rainfall total of 17.5mm recorded at Karori Reservoir (Zealandia) is the second lowest November total since records began in 1879. Wellington’s southern and eastern suburbs were also below average, with Miramar recording 8mm, Hataitai 11mm and Berhampore 14mm. Monthly rainfall averages barely reaching 25 percent of normal across Wellington, Hutt Valley and the Kapiti Coast. The only lower November total was 72 years ago in 1945. At Wainuiomata, the 27mm total is the lowest November rainfall since records started in 1890. The headwaters of the Wainuiomata, Orongorongo and Hutt rivers are key water supply collection areas and have been hit hard by the dry conditions. Rainfall recorded during October and November shows that period to be the driest on record (since 1980) in the Orongorongo valley and the second driest at Kaitoke since 1951.

It features the Māori proverb “e kore au e ngaro he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea (I will not be lost, I will not perish, for I am a seed that was sown in Rangiātea)” which could be read as an expression of resilience, whakapapa and continuity. The mural, which spans the Wakefield Street side of the building, was officially unveiled with a blessing ceremony on Tuesday evening, led by TKM kaumatua Sir Matiu Rei and Kura Moehau. Kura’s wife Alishia then followed their karakia with a waiata. Mayor Jusin Lester says the artwork helps define what it means to be a New Zealander. “We want to see more of this in our environment; to see this is a permananet facade, to show that Wellington is a bicultural city.

“It shows people that we can be the capital and a tikanga Maori city too,” Justin says. “It means a lot to the council. This will be one in a sequence going around the city.” Feilding-based Johnson, who moved to Wellington in 2014 to design the project, was initially daunted by what he set out to do. “It looked terrible when I began. It was harder than I thought to work out how it would cover 75 metres.” But persistence paid off as it was one of his few projects in which the outcome was what he imagined. Justin says the hoarding will come down after repair work on the pink six-storey building is complete, which could take up to three years. He hopes a permanent location for it will be found.

Johnson Witehira in front of his mural that now surrounds much of the city council building Ngā Kākano: The Seeds. PHOTO: Jamie Adams

Employees bring their new kids to work – every day By Jamie Adams

Young parents who work at Wellington company phil&teds are perhaps the luckiest in the country when it comes to childcare. Not only does the Newtownbased company manufacture buggies and other outdoor equipment for babies and toddlers but also it has an on-premises childcare centre called Minimee. Located in a converted warehouse downstairs in its Daniell Street office block, the crèche received a full early childhood education and care centre license by the Ministry of Education last week. Minimee cater exclusively for children of phil&teds employees, and is also the only in-company childcare centre in Wellington that’s staffed and managed internally. The crèche is the brainchild of one of phil&teds executive directors, Laura Ming-Wong, and chief executive Campbell Gower, following the success of a school holiday programme. Business compliance manager Denis Witt says Minimee is all about helping parents fulfill that need to balance work and family life. “[Laura’s] idea was that it would benefit the parents and the company,” he says. “Our staff are younger and

Product marketer Michaella Smith plays with her 16-month-old son Fred, at phil&ted’s new in-house creche, Minimee. With them is Riley Ffrench-Beytagh, 2. PHOTO: Jamie Adams

either don’t have children or have young children. This was a perfect opportunity,” centre manager Celia Fairfax-Darell adds. There is a maximum of 18 on the role with up to 14 children allowed in the crèche at any time. While Te Papa had introduced an on-site crèche before them, phil&teds is unique in that its own staff manage it, rather than contracted ECE staff.

“Phil&ted have employed their own staff to be teachers, ” Denis says “This has been a big learning curve, but we’ve managed to keep it ticking over. “The Ministry of Education have been supportive all the way through.” The obvious benefit for parents is its proximity, especially if something goes wrong. “They are just upstairs, so they

can have lunch with their children or if they are unwell they can look at them on the spot,” Celia says. “The parents can come in during a break and just sit for five minutes with them.” It also means no need to rush to and from work to drop-off and pick-up their children from another childcare facility. “There are benefits to the company when our staff are happier and more relaxed,” Denis says.

LETTERS to the editor

Time to remove Crawford Rd parking? Dear Editor, Crawford Road is the main road between Kilbirnie and Newtown. Bus and other traffic relies on that route.

It seems time to reconsider whether car parking is a good idea on Crawford Road. As transport in Wellington is re-invented for the future there may a better combination of

facilities in which there are fewer of no car parks on Crawford Road. Richard Keller Kilbirnie

Cook Strait News 21-12-17  

Cook Strait News 21-12-17

Cook Strait News 21-12-17  

Cook Strait News 21-12-17