Today a group of iwi representatives, elected members, contractors and Skate Park Committee members gathered to bless the recently-completed Whakatāne Skate Park extension which will be enjoyed by many this summer.

The extension was initiated by a small group of skating enthusiasts in 2017 who formed the Whakatāne Skate Park Committee and engaged with park users, Sport BOP and Council to develop design concepts that are now a reality. The project was entirely externally funded, with the design and construction being carried out by J Stone Skate Parks.

Mayor Judy Turner says today’s official opening of the skate park extension is the result of an effort by locals who wanted their kids to have access to such a facility. “The partnership approach to developing community assets is a great way to progress a good idea to enhance recreational options without inflicting costs on those in the community who are unlikely to use them,” she says.

“To this end we are incredibly grateful to our funding partners, New Zealand Community Trust, Pub Charity Limited, Whakatāne-Ōhope Community Board, Lottery Grants Board and Trust Horizon.”

One of the original Skate Park Committee enthusiasts, Clint Boon is happy to see the project come to fruition. “There are more kids today riding skateboards or scooters to school than pushbikes,” he says. “With the popularity of competitive skateboarding growing we now have a great asset that will undoubtedly bring competitions and visitors to Whakatāne.”

Takutaimoana (Peter) Harawira, a cultural designer nominated by Ngāti Awa developed the motif that borders the park. The designs reflect the adjacent He Matapuna Paru /Traditional Flax Dyeing Pools and estuary through the use of colours.

The original Whakatāne Skate Park was built in 1998. It is linked to the Warren Cole pathway, which runs for about 5km along the Whakatāne River and is a part of the Whakatāne River Greenways Concept Plan.