The sport of Roller Derby is growing in popularity with leagues in most cities throughout the country, and enthusiasts are also upskilling on tools to maintain better mental health.

One such team is Team Crazy Legs, who are a large and inclusive group of players, officials and supporters affected by mental and/or chronic illness.

The team's tagline is "Skating out for invisible illness".

The Team Crazy Legs movement was formed in 2013 in the UK.


In 2016 the concept was brought to New Zealand by Dawn Duthie aka Thugsy Malone of Richter City Roller Derby.

"I started Team Crazy Legs because I felt there was a real need to bring awareness to invisible illness and to break the stigmas attached," Duthie said.

"What started as a simple idea has grown into a wonderful supportive safe space, and I am constantly blown away by the amazing humans within our derby community."

Today more than 150 roller derby enthusiasts makeup Team Crazy Legs Aotearoa movement and as often as possible play exhibition games throughout New Zealand.

Members of Rotorua's roller derby league, the Sulphur City Steam Rollers, have played in the purple and white strip of Team Crazy Legs.

It was this connection, and that of Sulphur City skaters living with chronic or mental illness, that has driven the league to their latest initiative.

The Steam Rollers have raised $1400 to fund representatives from New Zealand roller derby leagues to attend the St John Mental Health First Aid Course.

The Steam Rollers' hope is that each representative will not only bring their new skills back to their own league but spread the knowledge to other leagues in their area.


Sulphur City Steam Rollers coach, Zara Matthews aka Cankle Biter, will be attending the first aid course on behalf of the Rotorua league and wider central North Island area.

"This cause is something very close to my heart," Matthews said.

"Not only will attending the course give me more understanding of mental health but it will also strengthen our sport by giving us the tools we need to better help people in crisis," she said.

Team Crazy Legs, including seven members of the Sulphur City Steam Rollers, will be playing Tauranga's Moana Roller Derby at the QE Youth Centre on May 4.