Text and photography by David Read
First published in Manual #33, March 2009.
Hawera is one of those sizable yet sleepy towns that you pass through while en route to somewhere else. The memories of places like this often amount to not much more than a bad service station pie or a beer at the local pub to break up the drive. Well, that just changed. Thanks to the South Taranaki District Council’s welcoming approach to consultation, the local skaters now have a boast-worthy skate park that makes a lengthier stay well worth it.
Park builder James Blas made the commute from his home in Wanganui for the best part of six months late last year, adding his signature to Hawera’s existing skate park. Before James started work there was a modest park made up of lumps and bumps clumsily shaped into something skateable. Blas more than doubled the scale of the park, adding ledges, transitions, wedges, and the prized new triple height bowl made up of a five-foot shallow end, seven-foot deep section joined together by a mid-section that is finished off with a ten-foot over-vert cradle with pool coping. Blas worked with the local skaters and council, including their features in the street section, and putting flat section walls in the bowl so that it works as a halfpipe as well.
How to find it:
The park is situated near the base of the water tower, a couple of blocks to the east of the city centre.
Approximately four hours from Wellington, six hours from Auckland, one hour and 45 minutes from Palmerston North and one hour from New Plymouth.
Closest skate shops:
Cheapskates Wanganui, Velocity Skate Shop or Seasons in New Plymouth.
Other creations by James Blas:
Check out the nearby Castle Cliff skate park in Wanganui or the Papakura kidney bowl in South Auckland.