The Gisborne skate park bringing kids together post-cyclone

Fri, Mar 3

A Gisborne skate park is helping bring kids together following the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The state-of-the-art Alfred Cox Skate Park, considered one of the best in the country, is all about community spirit.

"Doesn't matter where you're from, what you do for a living — everyone comes here for the same cause and the same reason: you build so many friendships and relationships," skater and Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust member Shane Kingsbeer told Seven Sharp.

"It's just kind of like, 'leave ya stuff at the door, hey we're here for this' and everyone's here having a good time, enjoying the space and it's an organic section of society all coming together."

Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust’s Amy Spence says "easily" around 200 to 300 children show up to the skate park per day.

"Obviously in school holidays and peak periods, we have a lot more," she said.

Kingsbeer said the secret to its popularity is its team effort.

"Skate parks are so bespoke in nature. They're not like a 100x50. There's no set design so really engaging with the user group and taking them on the journey with you," he said.

"This is for them, it's not for us. We're all at the other end of our skateboarding careers and we do it for our kids and we do it for our community."

Skateboards and scooters also mean the kids are off screens and out of trouble.

"Kids in sport stay out of court and it's giving kids something to do. It keeps them away from crime, it keeps them busy and that's what we want. Kids need to be busy," Spence said.

"Kids can come down and forget about the stresses of home. There's a lot of people who've been affected by the floods, but also parents that come down, too."

The skate park always has someone "covering the kaitiaki role" and ensuring the children are OK after school and on weekends, Kingsbeer said.


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