Skateboarding in New Zealand has taken a setback following a Kaipara District Council decision to delay funding for the Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ).
The MAZ committee had hoped to secure a $500,000 grant from Council to complete the park before the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will include skateboarding for the first time.
However, its submission has been pushed into the Long Term Plan for 2018 to 2021.
MAZ chair Colin Gallagher says he is ‘gutted’ by the decision.
“Without this funding, we will never get the skate park finished and it won’t become the top skate facility that we had envisaged,” Colin says.
“There are no other Olympic-level parks in NZ that have the flow bowl and street plaza areas our final design includes, so our top skaters are having to travel to Australia to train.”
Skateboarding New Zealand director Jesse Peters says the non-completion of the park will have an impact on the sport in NZ.
“I think it will impact the growth of the sport and it would have been an important part of our Olympic preparation,” Mr Peters says. “The quality of the current facilities in NZ are not world class.”
Mr Peters holds the Bowl Jam skate event at the MAZ skate park and last year there were around 2000 skaters and spectators.
“With events like this we can develop young talent and an expansion to the MAZ facility would increase our capacity to do this.”
Kaipara Council acknowledges funding is available, but a spokesperson says a number of community projects must be considered before money is allocated.
Meanwhile, the activity zone has just completed its $60,000 crossfit circuit.
It consists of 12 exercise stations including press up bars, balance beam and scaling walls that are free for the public to use.
“I am really happy with the result, there isn’t much here for adults so this fills that space nicely,” Colin says.
“The circuit has had a lot of use already and even the Mangawhai ambulance staff want to use it for training.”
Colin hopes two more apparatus will be added to the facility in the near future. The circuit was paid for with $20,000 from the Mangawhai Endowment Land Account, $10,000 from Pub Charities and the remaining $30,000 from grants and donations.