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New skating club rolls into Carterton

The 1980s roller skate craze is returning to Wairarapa.

Verity Turner’s daughter came home beaming after a party at a roller skating rink in Upper Hutt – but when the family sought something similar in Wairarapa, they realised there was nothing that could compete.

So, in September last year, Turner and partner Chris Robertson organised their own skating club in Carterton.

The Carterton Roller Skaters meets in the stadium at Clareville Showgrounds on Thursday afternoons, with about 10 to 20 children in attendance.

“I was asking around, looking for a space to start the club, and luckily my friend offered us the place at the showgrounds,” Turner said.

“We share it with a few other sports clubs. We could use some storage at the moment – because we have about 100 pairs of roller skates.”

Globally, roller skating, hugely popular in the 80s [as seen on the hit Netflix series Stranger Things], saw a revival after the covid-19 lockdowns.

“Just looking at YouTube, there’s been a real resurgence,” Turner said.

“There are quite a few skate clubs and roller derby in Kilbirnie and Wellington, but we couldn’t find anything this side of the hill.”

“During lockdown, heaps of children were getting into it, and it’s grown since then,” Robertson said.

“Chris and I don’t have a background in roller skating,” Turner added. “So we’ve been watching countless amounts of videos online to teach the children.”

Turner said roller skating was a “fun activity” for young people.

“They’re mainly just zooming around the stadium. We have some loud disco music, and then Chris will start a few skating games, and teach them a few techniques.

“It’s fantastic exercise for them. After an hour, they’re tired.”

The group has attracted young people from ages five to 14, as well as a few adult helpers.

“There’s a teenager coming who used to do roller derby, who helps run the afternoon. We also have a schedule of a few adults and parents who help us out, and we’d welcome more volunteers.”

Since the club started, it has received a donation of two old pairs of skates, which have been repaired.

Robertson said the club was a “non-judgemental environment” for people of all abilities.

“In the end, it’s all about fun. We encourage them to learn new skills.

“We don’t provide safety gear, but it is highly recommended. Everyone falls over, adults and children – but they get back up again.”

Turner and Robertson’s goal was to make the club self-sustaining.

“We don’t want it to live and die with us – we want this to continue.”

Carterton Skating Club meets every Thursday during the school term from 4.30pm to 5.30pm. For more information, search Carterton Roller Skaters on Facebook, or contact Verity Turner on 021 365 655.

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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