Park seen as flipping good proposal

By Alexandra Newlove

1 comment
LEAPS AND BOUNDS: A council plan to build a parkour park in Whangarei has been given the thumbs up by athlete Frederick Mackie, seen here leaping over the seagulls in Whangarei's sculpture park. PHOTO/JOHN STONE
LEAPS AND BOUNDS: A council plan to build a parkour park in Whangarei has been given the thumbs up by athlete Frederick Mackie, seen here leaping over the seagulls in Whangarei's sculpture park. PHOTO/JOHN STONE

A Whangarei parkour enthusiast says a plan to build a park devoted to the art of city stunts sounds "wicked as".

Whangarei District Council is looking at building a facility on Pohe Island devoted to parkour - or free running, an often-extreme sport which involves climbing, vaulting, running and tumbling through urban environments.

Frederick Mackie, member of Whangarei parkour collective Team 72, said while using the features that naturally occurred in cities - like stairways, bollards and walls - was essential to parkour, he would "definitely use the park as well".

"That's wicked as, to be honest ... different architecture brings different types of movement. Yes, urban is ideal, but also parks and gyms made for it are good for up-skilling technique," Mr Mackie said.

Mr Mackie, 27, had practised parkour since childhood "though we never put a name to it" and was on the streets up to 50 hours a week feeding what he termed "an addiction".

He named the Town Basin, skate park and sculpture park as the best places to train.

"Anywhere really that the public won't perceive it as being 'trouble'," he said.

WDC senior landscape architect Jed Whitaker said funding for the park would be sought for the next financial year.

In some countries, parkour parks were "as common as skate parks", Mr Whitaker said.

"We want to provide exciting new opportunities for the youth of Whangarei. Parkour is a creative discipline where you move through the built environment in different ways to how they were designed."

Mr Whitaker said the council aimed to create a "challenging, but safe" space suitable for a range of abilities.

-Mr Mackie and other Team 72 members spoke to the Advocate about the fun, risky and addictive nature of parkour - see today's 48 Hours feature pull-out.

- Northern Advocate

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