Nestled in the heart of the Mongrel Mob stronghold of Porirua East/Cannons Creek, the Sievers Drive Skate Park is a beast to behold. This true piece of skateboarding history is one of the oldest remaining parks in the Southern Hemisphere. With its large curvaceous mounds and runway-style hill bomb entry point, you can go Mach 10 and huck to your heart’s content or take it back old school and get your bert slide on. Due to its historic significance, it’s often on visiting pros’ hit list when travelling to our fine island.
One of my first experiences of this lump of heritage bitumen (yes, bitumen) took place in my mid teens. While skating the old Welly-Town park—Chaffers, or ‘The Cheese Grater’ as it was affectionately known—I sat down with a random and Peter Kani and our meaningless banter turned to discussion about the mythical concrete beast lurking in the depths of Cannons Creek. Never one to pass up an opportunity to discover new horizons, I suggested we all jump in the car and go session it. On the drive from town to Porirua, speculation was rife and so were the stories along the lines of, ‘my bro heard someone got stabbed there’ and ‘you get beaten up if you’re not a local’ , ‘last time I got mugged for my shoes’, etc. Most of these stories seemed to suggest it was a bad idea to go there but my curiosity for the unknown drove me on, and after a couple of wrong turns and a few ‘interesting’ sights later we found ourselves pulled up beside a grassy reserve and a whole lot of big black tar hills. I thought my home paint-job Civic fitted in quite nicely but it clearly drew interest from some locals who pulled up behind it and got out for an inspection while we were heading towards the park. One of them called out, “This your car, bro?” As the three or four of them walked around it and looked in the windows, I thought we were about to become one of those stories. Trying not to pre-judge the situation, I replied: “Yeah, bro”, to which the response was, “Mean paint job, cuz”. They then gathered to watch us throw ourselves down the hill into the monolith below. It was decided that as our cultural representative and guide to the park, Kani would open the proceedings, which he did with gusto, boosting downhill and disappearing over the first mound. As the other two of us rounded the hip, we emerged to find Peter lying on the ground nursing a large bump and gash to his head. (This was the 90s, and 40mm wheels probably weren’t the best option for the rough terrain). Good-natured as ever, Peter laughed it off and we all got to work bombing the hill, blasting head-high ollies out the bank, then making our way back up to repeat the cycle. Slams and makes were greeted by cheers and whoops by the locals, who seemed to appreciate our antics.
Having grown up in Tawa but preferring to call myself a proud Pori local, I’ve heard heaps of sketchy stories about Cannons Creek; the area has notoriety as one of New Zealand’s roughest neighbourhoods, and home to some of our country’s toughest gang members, but since my first experience at Sievers, I’ve been back several times and have always had a good session. My last trip there was with Sean Duffell, who had also heard the rumours and was keen to see Sievers for himself. It was awesome to watch the enthusiasm in his eyes and see his reaction to skating it for the first time. Without checking the park at all, Sean blasted the hill from the top, hitting the first hip and boosting a girthy ollie that had to be seen to be believed. That was a year or so back now and it’s probably high time I went and paid the old girl another visit. It’s currently in the Porirua City Council budget to make alterations to the park in a bid to attract more skaters, so it will be a real challenge for those of us involved to ensure that any facelift the park is given expands possibilities while retaining respect for its historical significance. We might kook it, so my recommendation would be to get out there, sample a piece of history, and create some stories of your own. The only things I would advise youtake are big wheels and an open mind.
Text by Joel Middlemiss
Photography by David Read
Published in Manual #59