Pukerua Bay artist seeks seat on Porirua council

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 05:00 13/07/2010

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Pauline Morse has been involved in the Pukerua Bay community for more than 30 years, and now she is looking to take the ultimate plunge - a seat on Porirua City Council.

Porirua's most outer suburb has not had a councillor from within its ranks for quite some time. Ms Morse, a well-known artist, says she wants to represent Pukerua Bay's interests around the council table with a "commonsense approach" but realises she must hold a city-wide view as well.

Ms Morse, who runs her own business, has considered running "for a few years" but has only started thinking seriously about it lately.

"A few people have suggested it to me and it's crossed my mind before, but I think the time is right now."

Her involvement in local events and groups such as the kindergarten and school, residents' association and Porirua Arts Council has made her a familiar face locally.

Her work as an ecologist for 10 years and her science degree means environmental issues are close to her heart.

To that end, looking after Pukerua Bay's greenery and dwindling fish stocks is important to her.

"I want to see the marine protection measures [rahui] carried through. I don't think it's necessary to get complete reserve status for this area but it needs to be looked after. As an artist who paints the hills of Porirua, I believe we need to maintain that natural feeling that we have of open spaces."

Ensuring a new overbridge and that safety measures on State Highway 1 are implemented are naturally key for any candidate from the bay, but there are Porirua-wide matters Ms Morse wants resolved too. The city centre revitalisation project, clean-up of the harbour and re-planting at Whitireia Park come to mind.

She is keen to pursue her arts passion as a councillor, and says there has been a "gap" since the late Helen Smith was seated at the council table.

"The arts are such a huge part of this city now, Pataka is so well-regarded around New Zealand. We need to keep that going and promote this city even more as a place to live and as a place for artists, I think there needs to be better branding of Porirua."

Ms Morse is confident of winning a seat, and will spend the coming months connecting with her community and finding out what they want.

So far, she says the response has been very positive.

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