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A Call for Porirua Breadmakers to Share their Traditions

Media Release:

A Call for Porirua Breadmakers to Share their Distinctive Traditions

How do you capture the essence of a city and its people in a loaf of bread? This is one of the questions artist Simon Gray is trying to answer as part of his project Bread Makers of Porirua, Unite! for which he is seeking involvement from members of the Porirua community who have different cultural histories of breadmaking to share and exchange. Gray’s project is part of

TEZA: Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa a major publiic art programme of projects that sees artists from around New Zealand work with different community groups in Porirua city to explore different forms of exchange. Culminating in a festival in late November, Gray is opening a workshop and art installation space in Hartham Place North in the CBD to share information and hold breadmaking workshops from 20 September.

Gray is experimenting with capturing the diverse essence of the city by sharing sourdough starters with people around the city. To make sourdough bread you need a starter or bug. This is simply flour and water mixed together and left for a few days to capture the wild yeast in the air. Leaving it in the open air means a loaf made in Cannons Creek will be subtle different from one made in Mana.

The ‘Mother’ sourdough bug has been started and recently went on a tour of Porirua to capture wild yeasts. Simon is giving away the sourdough bug, and can be contacted atsimongray@ihug.co.nz

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By getting people to take and look after the sourdough bug, Simon hopes to recruit bakers and anyone interested in bread making. The more people and areas he can get involved the more representative of Porirua the loaf will be.

The project doesn’t stop there. Sourcing local ingredients, such as making local sea salt, will be a focus of the project, along with some more unusual flavours representing the area.

A series of workshops will be run to provide support and share knowledge of bread making traditions, while developing the ‘Porirua Loaf’. More information will be available from http://teza.org.nz/bread-makers-of-porirua-unite/ and on Facebook through the Urban Dream Brokerage Porirua page.

Numerous workshops are occurring throughout Porirua City towards the creation of TEZA, which will have a major public week 21-29 November. TEZA is produced by public art producers Letting Space who are also running with Porirua Chamber of Commerce funding a pilot Urban Dream Brokerage programme in Porirua, placing art and community projects in vacant spaces in the CBD. The Breadmakers is the first of numerous art and community projects that will be appearing in the CBD over the next few months. TEZA is principally funded by Creative New Zealand with further funding from Porirua City Council and Mana Community Trust.


Bread is universal, people across the world have taken wild yeast, flour, water and salt for thousands of years and turned into a myriad of forms, this project will continue this tradition.

Sourcing, where possible, local ingredients the project will explore bread making traditions reflected in the diversity of people who call Porirua home.

Bread making has in the past involved community baking, something that is being revived in many places and this will form part of the project by looking at building a wood fired oven for use by the community to bring back the joy of producing homemade bread in a supportive and communal way.

Artist Simon Gray has worked with a diverse range of people and communities over the past 25 years. Central to his practice is a creative, collaborative and inclusive approach.

His projects explore and document topical and social issues with warmth and humour. Themes have included: ‘New Urban Camouflage” developing urban security blankets for the homeless in UK, “24 Bus Stops from Clevedon” documenting bus driver’s favourite points of their route as large scale panoramic landscapes, “Farmlife” exploring the isolation of rural Northland and “Sugarcube”, collaborating with the café patrons of Wellington to make a sugar sachet sculpture.

The input from participants is crucial to the work and provides opportunities for them to use and explore their own creativity to strengthen community resolve and resilience.

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