News | 25 March 2022
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Campaign aims to flip views on skateboarders

A new campaign about skateboarding looks to curb negative stereotypes, wipe out stigma, and not miss a trick in raising awareness about the activity in the Capital.

We Skate profile of Daisy in campaign template

Skateboarding has come a long way from its 1960s origins in California, and is now more a sport than a lifestyle choice with it making its Olympic debut in Tokyo last year and now receiving High Performance Sport New Zealand funding.

A Wellington City Council survey in 2020 talked with over 800 representatives from the skateboarding community to better understand their demographics, behaviours and future needs to develop a skate plan – a key finding was they wanted to skate more and be accepted by the public.

Some skate for their commute, to keep fit and healthy, to spend time with friends, to reduce carbon emissions and to have fun. As well as providing great cardio exercise, skateboarding is great for balance, toning muscle and also aids in coordination.

Yet, there is a history of negative stigma around skateboarding, and Wellington City Council’s latest campaign, We Skate Pōneke, is designed to challenge and break down these negative stereotypes by profiling some local skaters and the reasons they do it. 

We Skate profile of David in campaign template

Max Olijnyk from the Wellington Skateboarding Association has been skating for 33 years and says in that time he’s experienced being yelled at and abused many times while skating, especially when he was younger and skated the streets more.

“I understand that groups of skaters can be noisy and intimidating, but that's also just a common reaction to groups of young people in general.

“I encourage anyone who feels threatened by skateboarding to examine that feeling and try to see the positive side. These are people creating their own fun, participating in a dynamic and challenging activity that is also an Olympic sport!

“I'm a strong believer in skateboarding being incorporated into public spaces, as a creative way to engage with that space and an entertaining thing to watch for non-skaters. Skateboarding doesn't disrespect space – it's a celebration of it.

“Give it a go!,” adds Max. “One of the great things about the We Skate Pōneke campaign is it shows that skateboarding is for everyone. It's a fun activity for people of all ages and backgrounds, and there's never been a better time to be a skater. There are a range of skate lessons available for beginners to get you up and rolling. Or better yet, see you up at Treetops or at the skatepark. I'll be the old guy struggling to learn backside tailslides.”

We Skate profile of Louis in campaign template

There are skate parks throughout the city offering local and visiting skaters a range of fun, accessible spaces, responsible skating is allowed on most footpaths, and Council is a proud supporter of the annual BOWLZILLA event, but there are also bylaws in place where skating is not allowed.

Over the coming years skaters in Wellington will see upgrades to Tawa Skate Park, Waitangi Park and the Ian Galloway ramps thanks to a $1.5M investment from the Long-term Plan.

A focus group of skaters has also been included on Paneke Pōneke, the new bike network design process to ensure that pathways cater to the full range of commuters.

The campaign runs from 21 March – 20 April, check out Council’s social media channels for regular profiles and videos, and you can find out more at

What is the hardest thing about skateboarding? Concrete.

Nothing can stop skateboarders. Well, except pebbles.

What does a zombie call a skateboarder? Meals on wheels.