Skatepark project aims to revitalise Tāneatua township

By Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A youth-focused project called the “Tāneatua Skatepark Project” will kick off and come to life in the coming weeks. This project aims to give new life to the worn Tāneatua skatepark in order to beautify the space for the community, bring people together celebrate skating as a creative physical art form that nurtures the confidence and fitness of our local taiohi.

A group of like-minded artists will come together to paint a mural that reflects the history of the township. The mural will be of Tāneatua, the navigator of the Mataatua waka, and his pack of kurī (in particular Ōtarahioī, who was known to be a favourite though mischief dog).

Auckland-based Artist Te Marunui Hotene and partner Erin Matariki Carr have organised the project and are hosting the open day for the revitalised skate park on Saturday 25 March, featuring a professional skate demo by a crew from Auckland’s Def Store to inspire the young ones, live DJ Ramon Narayan, and a free BBQ to share with the community.

The idea behind this project came about last year when Te Marunui was living back home in Tāneatua and working with local youth through Tūhoe Hauora. There is a new energy in Tāneatua as it is rebuilding itself after decades of depression; this surge of energy has been promoted by the recent establishment of the Tāneatua Gallery and the Tāneatua Hair Saloon.

The event has received a lot of backing from the community including Te Uru Taumatua, the Tāneatua Community Board, Te Kōmiti o Runga and the Tāneatua Gallery. 

Businesses have also helped to bring the event together. Local painting business Davey Painters have generously agreed to donate the paint.

Furthermore, Chey Ataria, New Zealand’s first Māori pro skateboarder and owner of Def Store, has kindly agreed to bring a team down from Auckland to do a pro skate demo, and will also be donating skateboards and gears for the local taiohi. Tūhoe Hauora is generously helping provide the kai for the BBQ. Resene has just confirmed sponsoring this event also.

Another vital aspect of the project is to generate koha (donation) in order to fund the open day and skating gear for the local community. A few weeks ago a Boosted fundraiser was launched, which you can make contributions to here: https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/taneatua-skatepark-project