News | 26 March 2024
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We Skate: Ramping up skating in Pōneke

Being a skateboarder is like being in the matrix.

Person skateboarding on a rail.
Image by David Read, skateboard photographer.

This is what Kyle O’Regan – dad, builder, artist and skateboarder – believes.

To him, skateboarding is a creative way of looking at your environment and getting around obstacles. Though people may not believe it, skateboarding involves using your imagination, Kyle explains. 

“People don't know this because skateboarders have been stereotyped for so long, but our minds are creative. We look at things in a whole new light, like we’re in the matrix - you can kick over a fridge and use it as a grinder, or you can use bike rails in schools. It’s taking what you have and putting it to use,” says Kyle, 36.

“I’ve skated for most of my life and as a builder by trade, I’ve started using those skills to start building things for skateboarding and combined art in that process.” 

As part of Wellington City Council’s We Skate Pōneke campaign, Kyle has created three pop-up skate installations in key central city spots, to help showcase how skate brings energy and vitality to the city

These obstacles will be located at the following locations from 26 March to 3 May 2024.

  • Queen’s Wharf (by the heli-pad): This space features objects like a manual pad, wharf timbers and quarter-pipe.
  • Te Ngākau Civic Square: In the open space in the middle level of the square, there’s a blast ramp, kicker and a grind rail. 
  • Michael Fowler Centre carpark: Skate-friendly edging has been added to the temporary seating.
Person skateboarding on a ramp.
Image by David Read, skateboard photographer.

Titahi Bay local Kyle’s journey with skateboarding began when the Porirua Skate Park opened in 1999 and he wanted to try “the new ‘it’ thing”. 

He was 11 years old at the time and incredibly involved in other sports such as rugby league. He says that while skating didn’t come naturally to him, he loved being a part of the community and felt determined to keep at it.

“I was a ‘go hard’ kid. I’m not afraid of much so it’s more of a mental thing than a physical thing - I realised I just didn’t want to give up. You're not being trained; you've got no trainer apart from yourself. It's a whole different ball game to team sports but it was still social. 

“I got to know a lot of people from different areas of Porirua who you would never be caught with, but skateboarding brought us together. We developed a lifelong bond from our skateboarding days. It’s all about the connection.”

Person bumping fists with another person.
Image by David Read, skateboard photographer.

Kyle, who owns Tiki Construction, felt that skateboarding aligned with his other passion, art. 

“I wasn’t a natural at school. My mind was always ticking. I loved to draw and paint, and I loved moulding and shaping things. I wasn't that good at learning at school because I’ve always had a short attention span, so my mind kind of naturally gravitated towards art and skateboarding because it was more creative and I could mix the two together easily. It brought out all my strengths.”

Kyle says he was happy to collaborate with the Council on the project because he’s passionate about making Wellington a skate-friendly city where the activity is accessible to everyone. He says that designing and building the skate structures was an enjoyable process.

“I looked at things like the angles skaters would come at it, and what the space was like. I like to think that some kids are going to find a spark for skateboarding when they use these small obstacles.

“I would like to thank the Council for being open to this kind of work. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings for Wellington and skateboarding.”

Skateboarder tests temporary installation equipment at MFC car park space.
Image by David Read, skateboard photographer.

Māori Arts and Events Facilitator Suzanne Tamaki is excited to see art and recreation work in tandem. 

“The skate community is so incredible.  It’s filled with passionate people helping to co-design sweet as spaces, making rad ramps and creatives doing amazing art.  We’ve been so lucky to support some of their initiatives over the years, encouraging young people and whānau to get out there and give it a go.”

Wellington City Council are committed to building a healthy, creative, and vibrant city, which is inclusive and welcoming to people of all ages to play and recreate in their happy place. Find out more about We Skate Pōneke on our website.