There's a new skate park in Marton which is world class, and it's a big deal for this small rural community.

International skatepark designers Rich Landscapes worked closely with locals on the design specs of the development.

"We designed the place according to what the local kids wanted," said designer Richard Smith.

"They were really keen to have a flyout and more transitional sort of environment, so we did that with a flow-bowl that led out into this flyout feature, and then afterwards you come up into a one-foot vert transition wall which they can do tricks on. The whole idea is they will just rotate through it."

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International skatepark designer, Richard Smith gave the locals what they wanted. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.
International skatepark designer, Richard Smith gave the locals what they wanted. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.

Andy Watson, the mayor of Rangitikei, said the actual process of building the park was fascinating.

"They get pumice in from the central North Island, they wet it and compact it, then they carve it," he said.

Rangitikei Mayor, Andy Watson has a go. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.
Rangitikei Mayor, Andy Watson has a go. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.

It all started with a visit from a local skater.

"A few years ago a guy called Roman Strong, a local skater, approached me and said 'we need to upgrade this park'," said Watson. "I said, 'Well, it's a lot of money, prove you have the support'.

The launch got busy with hundreds of skateboards and scooters. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.
The launch got busy with hundreds of skateboards and scooters. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.

"Overnight he had 150-odd signatures and he presented them to us and said 'do something'."

The project was then taken on by locals Raymond and Pania Hemopo, whose son is a sponsored rider in national competitions.

Pania Hemopo did the hard yards to get Marton skatepark to fruition. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.
Pania Hemopo did the hard yards to get Marton skatepark to fruition. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.

"It took me a year to write the proposal," Pania Hamepo said. "It was 200 and something pages, including signatures, hundreds of signatures and surveys from businesses, surveys from schools about what they wanted, quotes and everything I needed - before I took that to council. So about a year, then three years in the works."

Rotary was supportive of the project.

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"They came with a really, really good proposal," Ray Sisley from Rotary said. "Very detailed. So we got in behind them because one of the things Rotary really likes to do is join with others in the community to bring dreams to fruition."

Ray Sisley from Rotary was impressed by the proposal Pania presented. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.
Ray Sisley from Rotary was impressed by the proposal Pania presented. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.

The broad support from the community was reflected at the opening event last weekend, attended by a diverse group of locals, as well as skaters from around the country.

"Everybody's come to Marton today," announcer Kyle Hamilton said.

"My car brought Alex and Caleb, Alex is the number one female skater, has been for ages.

"Caleb is one of our local riders from Napier. There's riders from Wellington who ride for Madd Gear Pro on the pro-team as well as the Day-Brown boys from Christchurch who made the trip."

Airborne and upside down in Marton. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.
Airborne and upside down in Marton. Photograph / Georgie Ormond.

With the park now complete, and getting the tick of approval from skaters, the plan is to keep up the momentum by holding regular competitions and events.

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