News | 16 April 2024
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Building an inclusive skate community in Pōneke

For Gala Baumfield, skating in Pōneke has been a way to make friends, build community, and even help to start a magazine. She wants to remind people that skating is for everyone.

Person holding a skateboard.

Gala has been skating in the city for years, but she knows that lots of people feel whakamā about street skating because they don't think they're good enough yet. 

"It’s a common thing for a lot of girls or non-binary people to feel like they have to be practising in their driveway until they're good enough to go to a skate park. I tell them; nah bro, if you skate past a little girl on the street and she sees you, she's gonna be like, ‘That’s awesome’.” 

Gala started skating at a young age and started competing in high school. Travelling to comps meant bonding with skaters as they supported each other and strived to get better. These experiences helped Gala find “a different kind of whānau”.  

“I met a lot of mates through skating who had come to Pōneke for university. We'd go get a kai, go to someone's flat, go out to a gig that night, then do the same thing the next day. Lifelong homies have come out of that."  

Wozer skate magazine was born from this lifelong group – which includes a lot of women and queer friends. Realising what a good thing they had in their friend group, one of Gala’s mates started Wozer as a university project “which was kind of like a projection of: ‘Hey, look at this little pocket of the skate community. This is us’.”  

Recognition of women and queer people in skateboarding has increased in Aotearoa over the past few years, and in Gala’s opinion, is growing really fast. Wozer is there to support the kaupapa; “It's really cool to observe that, and to broadcast it.”  

Spray paint on the ground with writing that says We Skate Poneke.

The Wozer crew act as a bridge between the skate community and those who want to get involved but don’t know how, or those who just want to watch and catch a vibe. “I think it’s just such a whānau, that’s a big part of Wozer. I know it's just a passion project, but it's real fun and I think it's cool to see how far we can push it. It's also really amazing to see how many people come through to tautoko us.”  

This year’s We Skate Pōneke campaign aims to make the city a more skate friendly place. The campaign has been developed in partnership with the Wellington Skateboarding Association, and includes pop-up skate installations in three key central city spots from 26 March to 3 May. 

Wellington City Council Manager of City Design Vida Christeller says that the goal is to make Pōneke a more vibrant, interesting and inclusive place which encourages people to interact and move around in different ways.  

“We know that skating really brings people together and builds community. So, in all our public space and street changes we are looking at how we can design our urban spaces and street furniture to make the city skate friendly. These pop-up installations are a great way for us to experiment and find out what works best.” 

Wellington City Council is committed to supporting all the ways we move and play in our capital city. Find out more about We Skate Pōneke and the pop-ups on our website, and check out WOZER on Instagram @wozerskatemag