Whangārei has played host to a flying, flipping, adrenalin-filled good time.

The Parkour New Zealand National Gathering was held in the city over the weekend.

More than 20 traceurs, the term for parkour practitioners, descended on Whangārei from Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington and elsewhere for the event, based out of NorthTec.

Whangārei's Eamon O'Donnell appears to hang upside down in midair. Photos / John Stone
Whangārei's Eamon O'Donnell appears to hang upside down in midair. Photos / John Stone

On Friday night the group headed along to Flip Out, the indoor trampoline park.

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Whangārei man Frederick Mackie, who organised the event, said it was the first time it had been held in Northland.

On Saturday a public display and onsite workshop was held at NorthTec, where the public were welcome to have a go.

Liu midway through the flip. Photo/John Stone
Liu midway through the flip. Photo/John Stone

At the same time, traceurs hit the central city to show what parkour was all about.

"It's something a bit different for a small town," Mackie said.

Yesterday the group headed for a beach or waterfall where they could test themselves in a different environment.

Liu eyes up his landing. Photo/John Stone
Liu eyes up his landing. Photo/John Stone

"Different environments requires different creativity. Depending on the spot depends on the movement."

He said the aim of parkour is to overcome different urban obstacles efficiently and fluently.

Mackie said that as kids, everyone played "don't touch the ground" or similar games which had parkour fundamentals.

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"As you grow up, they give it a name."

He said parkour was fun, something different, community-based, positive and inspiring.

It also helped youth learn to overcome obstacles in life, Mackie said.

Event organiser Frederick Mackie brought the event to Northland for the first time. Photo/John Stone
Event organiser Frederick Mackie brought the event to Northland for the first time. Photo/John Stone

One of those attending the national gathering was 20-year-old Eamon O'Donnell from Whangārei. He said he had been doing parkour "on and off for six years, seven maybe".

It started with a front flip at intermediate school and has gone from there, he said.

Whangārei's Eamon O'Donnell appears to hang upside down in midair. Photo/John Stone
Whangārei's Eamon O'Donnell appears to hang upside down in midair. Photo/John Stone

Aucklander Luke Griffiths, 18, said he had been training for about five years.

"I saw YouTube videos, tried it outside and just kept progressing with it."

He said it started as a hobby and had become a lifestyle.

Fellow Aucklander Russell Liu, 17, said he used to do martial arts when he was younger and a friend introduced him to parkour around three years ago.

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