Kaimai School could be the first in the region to have a community skatepark built on school grounds.

Construction of the new skatepark began about a month ago and is expected to be finished on December 13.

Principal Dane Robertson said the skatepark replaced an eight-year-old playground that rusted "from the inside out".

He said water had started to pour from untreated steel playground poles after they were sanded back during a repaint about five years ago.


"It had rusted from the inside out, basically the only thing holding it together was the paint."

Mr Robertson said the school was initially going to build a new playground before the idea to build a skatepark was finalised after community consultation and research.

The school's Parent Teachers Association raised nearly $50,000 for the new skatepark and gained grants from pub charities, Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust, NZ Lotteries Commission and Rotary Club of Tauranga Sunrise.

Mr Robertson said he had not heard of any other school to have a community skatepark on school grounds. "One of the builders said they had heard of one in Auckland, but none here that we know of."

Richard Smith from Rich Landscapes, who designed the Omokoroa Skate Path, will also design the new skatepark.

"He spoke to the kids about what they would like to see and he put a proposal forward," Mr Robertson said.

He said the park was not just for the school pupils, but for the community to use.

"It is something that we know someone is bound to hurt themselves on, that is just the nature of it," he said.

"But children and teens are far better off experiencing risk on a skatepark than not experiencing anything until they are older."

Mr Robertson said the school followed advice to place the 350sq m park in front of the school.

"The more visible it was, the more it would encourage good behaviour," he said. "Plus it is where the turning bay is and a lot of the families going up or down the Kaimai can see it."

He expected the skatepark to be complete by December 13 and was hoping to have professional skaters officially open the park.

Richard Smith from Rich Landscapes said the skatepark included a mini ramp, tunnels, rails and rollovers.

He said the skatepark was designed to be challenging for a 5-year-old but would grow with the child.

The children could add and subtract temporary additions, including boxes or ramps to the park as they pleased.

"It is not just a fixed facility, it allows room for the students to make it their own. The park allows for learners to start off on a flat surface and work their way up on other features. It allows for a continued learning process."

He said it was a creative outlet for the children and the community.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council Kaimai ward councillor Margaret Murray-Benge said the council had approved $26,500 in funding for the skatepark which would be paid out next July.

"Kaimai School is the heart of the Kamais and to have a skatepark shared with the public is a good thing," she said.

"If it is anything like the success of the Omokoroa Skatepark then it has got to be good."

Ministry of Education head of education infrastructure services Kim Shannon said the Ministry was unable to confirm if the skatepark was the only community-funded skatepark in New Zealand or Bay of Plenty.