Bring your wheels!
The excitement is building as the completion of Fabulous Flaxmere’s skate park nears. An official opening will be held at 10am on December 17, featuring demonstrations by national skate and scooter crews.
The opening comes after 18 months of planning and construction, starting with community consultation on where the skate park should be, held in July 2021. There was overwhelming support for it to be in Flaxmere Park, and work on the design of the park began.
Of huge importance to the design was the input of a group of Flaxmere school students - Flaxmere School Skate Park Rangatahi – who presented their ideas to the mayor and councillors. They wanted it to be suitable for young and experienced skaters, safe for everyone, and for the art work to reflect Flaxmere. They worked with New Zealand’s leading skate park designer company Rich Landscapes and Hastings art collective Iwi Toi Kahungunu to bring their vision to life.
The final touches have been put in over the last weeks, including a permanent coffee and kaitiaki hub, which will be run by Ka Pai Cuppa Waka team. Kai Pai Cuppa Teina will be open from 7am to 3pm weekdays, and 7am to noon on Saturdays.
On Saturday, all of their ideas will be revealed!
Te Pae Whīra o Pā Harakeke - the design story
The cultural design for Te Pae Whīra was completed by mana whenua artists from the Iwi Toi Kahungunu Artists Collective. For Te Pae Whīra, the collective interpreted a design brief completed by children from Pā Harakeke Flaxmere.
The land beneath Te Pac Whīra o Pā Harakeke was once the point where the braided river Ngaruroro Mokotuaroro ki Rangatira formed a singular channel as it flowed across the Heretaunga Plans to the sea. The harakeke that thrived along its banks inspired the two names the area is known by: Pā Harakeke and Flaxmere.
Throughout the 1800s flooding shifted the course of the rivers across this area, leaving behind the shingle plain on which Flaxmere was built. The whakapapa genealogy of this natural change is reflected in the design of the surfaces and structures of Te Pae Whīra, while the landscaping pays homage to harakeke
Three designs are interwoven on the paving, representing a whāriki woven mat:
· Pātiki Flounder symbolises manaakitanga, abundance and hospitality, welcoming people into the space.
· Kaokao Chevron represents interlocked arms, welcoming manuhiri visitors with its haka stance serving as a cautionary sign.
· Takitoru links back to the way traditional sails were woven in a takitahi pattern, representing open communication.
The waharoa and poupou gateway is inspired by a strand of harakeke. The simplistic and overstated design of the waharoa and poupou is a contemporary approach to a traditional gateway. The corten steel, which will weather to a rust-like colour, adds to the industrial feel of the skate plaza, while the back-lit panels bring vibrancy and colour. The waharoa and poupou both incorporate designs of a kaitiaki using the Pitau-a-Manaia kōwhaiwhai form, while the swirling pattern represent the currents of the Ngaruroro and the healing winds of the Heretaunga plains. The incorporation of skate elements celebrates the use of the site today.
The ramp walls reflect the Mangokoru kōwhaiwhai blasted into the concrete ramp walls. Mangokoru is a design specific to Kahungunu, developed by artists of the Iwi Toi Kahungunu collective. Incorporating the Mangokoru within Te Pae Whīra celebrates our local Kahungunu identity. The three oxidized concrete colours on the skateable areas represent the three strands of the Ngaruroro.