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Funding found for skatepark kaitiaki

Masterton’s skatepark kaitiaki [guardians] are returning.

Te Hapori Skatepark community group has confirmed that funding has come through for the kaitiaki roles, which discontinued in mid-May when the money ran out.

Since then, a couple of high-profile park-related assaults have highlighted the funding issue.

Last week, kaitiaki Piki Avery was at the park on a voluntary basis, maintaining that the assaults were not commonplace.

“What happened … was disgusting, but most of the time, the park is awesome; the skate crews and the scooter crews are good kids.

“We just want it to be a positive place.”

Fellow kaitiaki Sam Hall said the incidents were indicative of social issues rather than skatepark issues.

In a statement yesterday, Te Hapori said, with support from Masterton District Council, it had obtained external funding – non-ratepayer money – “to enable the skatepark kaitiaki roles to return”.

Te Hapori said that Hall and Avery would be at the park seven days a week starting yesterday.

“Their role is to ensure the users of the park are learning to skate and scooter skills, education around safe skating, maintaining a culture of fund and maintain that the skatepark is for everyone to use, safely.”

Te Hapori said the recent violent incidents and negativity were not what the park needed. He believed it was an “incredible asset” for the community.

“The passion and commitment Sam and Piki have for the skatepark and its users is second to none, and we are very fortunate to have these guys in our community willing to step up.”

The groups said it would be engaging with Māori Wardens in the coming days to introduce an additional level of safety, and would be working with the council around the development of the Youth Hub and timeframes for completion.

    To find out more or to financially support the roles, you can contact the skate group at [email protected]

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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