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Kaitiaki looks after skatepark

Masterton skatepark’s troubles could be behind it, with the park’s new kaitiaki saying things are “going really well”.

Sam Hill has been appointed to look after the park and its users over the summer holidays, providing oversight and safety, teaching kids how to ride and even helping out with equipment.

It was not his first stint at the park, having previously helped out after school during term time until 5.30pm.

“In the holidays kids get bored, and as soon as they got bored they get understimulated, and it turns to Lord of the Flies.

“It’s really good to have someone here just to engage with the kids and the parents, and the parents can be reassured they can leave their kids here.”

Since it opened last year, the skatepark has been intermittently plagued by reports of antisocial behaviour.

Hill, who has been skating for more than 20 years, said that since he had been at the skatepark, he had not had any trouble.

“Not everyone who comes here wants to use the skatepark for what it’s for, and if kids are loitering, I’ll move them along.

“But I’m not a security guard – if anything, that would make it worse. With kids, you’ve got to build a rapport with them. They appreciate the small gestures.”

He said it was good to see a lot of girls were also getting involved in the skate bowls.

“It’s nice to see the young girl skaters – this is not a boys club. I know all the everyday skaters, and we’re also starting to get people coming from over the hill.

“We’re so lucky to have the park, I was talking to three people who came from Kapiti Coast just to skate it, so it’s great for the town.

“The next best park would probably be in Whakatane.”

Hill said a number of competitions were planned to encourage kids to come down and show off their tricks.

He said the initial competitions were for local kids only, however, planning for a larger competition later this year was underway. He said Masterton was the only skatepark in New Zealand to offer these types of competitions, with the next two currently scheduled to take place on January 13 and 17.

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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