News | 17 May 2024
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Finding the balance: benefits of skating on youth mental health

For young skaters in Pōneke, sometimes clearing your head is as easy as a kick and a push.

Two men skating.
Image by Camden Jackson.

Skating might not be the first thing that comes to mind when people think about improving their mental wellbeing, but for Jay Blair, 20, that’s a big part of the appeal. 

“Sometimes going for a skate is less about the actual skating, and more about just clearing my head and relaxing. I find more and more people like me are using it to boost their mental health.” 

And with youth mental health in decline, social activities like skate that take place outdoors have a lot to offer. Jivan Kumar, 21, says that apart from the obvious benefits of being physically active, skate is also about getting together with friends and finding a community. 

“Skate for me is a way to connect with mates, it’s a creative medium and a way to make art together in various forms, and it gives purpose to my daily life. I’ve never met a community more accepting of me.” 

For Jay, the welcoming vibe of the Pōneke skate community means finding someone to skate with is as easy as hitting up the group chat. 

“I don't know everyone in my skate group chat very well, but thanks to that group, I can always skate in the city and just meet up with new friends.” 

And while Jivan and Jay both love skateparks, they want to see more options for skating of all kinds, all over Pōneke. For Jivan, it’s all about having options, and not just being confined to one small section of the city. 

Two men standing side by side and posing for the camera.
Jivan (right), with one of his friends, Eli. Image by Camden Jackson.

"Skateparks are obviously great, but it would be awesome to have more public places all over the city that are designed with skaters in mind. Places to skate for sure, but also spaces to meet up, hang out, create content, all that too.” 

This year’s We Skate Pōneke campaign focused on encouraging street skating in the city with three pop-up skate installations at Queens Wharf, Te Ngākau Civic Square, and the Michael Fowler Carpark.

These pop-up ramps have now been relocated to a school in Kilbirnie where more young people can experience skate for the first time. Takapū / Northern Ward Councillor Ben McNulty says that initiatives like ‘We Skate’ are important for Pōneke. 

“We need positive outlets for youth and skating fits the bill nicely given its physical, social and creative aspects. Encouraging skating through low-cost initiatives and providing something for our tamariki to do is an absolute no brainer.” 

Wellington City Council’s We Skate Pōneke campaign is part of our commitment to supporting all the ways we move and play in our capital city. This year’s campaign is focused on supporting street skating in the city and is a collaboration with Wellington Skate Association. To provide feedback on your experience with this campaign – please fill out our survey here