Keeping children entertained during the school holidays can be a balancing act.

A group of Whangārei youth got to try balancing of a different kind yesterday when Te Ora Hou organised a free slacklining event.

The event was held at the skate park on Riverside Drive. Two slacklines were set up between trees, about a foot and two feet respectively off the ground.

Ian Broughton, 11, thought it was "cool and hard". He said the hardest part was that the line "shakes".

Advertisement
Ian Broughton, 11, is a face of concentration as he tries to make his way along the slackline while Lotte van der Wereld watches on. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Ian Broughton, 11, is a face of concentration as he tries to make his way along the slackline while Lotte van der Wereld watches on. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Slacklining is where a person walks or balances along a piece of flat webbing tensioned between two points. The tension is far less than a tightrope and, as a result, stretches as the person walks.

Te Ora Hou youth worker team leader Sharon Davis said they wanted to do something "new and different for young people".

They set up at the skate park and anyone who was around could join in. A free sausage sizzle and spot prizes were also on site.

Te Ora Hou enlisted the help of slackline hobbyists Chen Hing, a Northland man who has just returned after eight years overseas, and his partner Lotte van der Wereld.

"It's something new, hopefully they get into it. It's a good way to travel too," Hing said.

Hing has been slacklining or highlining, the same thing but much higher up, for the past four years. He learnt in Australia, and has highlined in Nepal, Turkey and Australia at heights varying from 30 metres to 100 metres above ground.

Van der Wereld said she was introduced to the activity almost a year ago by Hing.

"This is awesome. It gives them a new hobby," Van der Wereld said of the group of 20 youth who were taking turns on the slackline.

She spent time holding on to the arms of the young people as they wobbled along.

Amber Pook, 10, was one of those. She had never tried slacklining before.

Amber Pook, 10, tried slacklining for the first time and thought it was fun. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Amber Pook, 10, tried slacklining for the first time and thought it was fun. Photo/Michael Cunningham

"It was fun. When she [van der Wereld] let go I could do like four steps."

While the Northern Advocate visited, she had five attempts and thought it was getting easier.

She felt the added height of the second line made it easier to navigate.