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Ūawa Tolaga Bay Tamariki Pumped For New Track

Aerial view of Tolaga Bay's new pump track. Photo/Supplied

Ūawa (Tolaga Bay) tamariki and rangatahi are enjoying the community’s newest active recreation facility, the Ūawa Skate ‘n’ Park Pump Track, which was officially opened this morning.

The pump track has been over a year in the making and was a joint effort between Gisborne District Council, Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust (TAT) and Milford Foundation.

After Cyclone Gabrielle devastated the East Coast in February last year, small towns like Ūawa were isolated from the rest of the country and region. Slash covered the beaches, the river was full of sewage, and playgrounds were ravaged, leaving youth with few spaces to play and stay active.

Chair of Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust Haimona Ngata (Ngati Porou) knows all too well the importance of sport while growing up rural. An Ūawa local and national BMX Freestyle champion, Haimona, along with the other volunteer members of TAT, led the charge for the new pump track.

“When I was growing up in Ūawa you had to make your own fun, I found my fun in BMX. I turned that fun into a passion that allowed me to travel the world riding my bike as a career. This pump track will give the next generation the chance to find their own passion too.

“We’re just stoked to see the pump track open. It connects Ūawa to the global pump track network through Velo Solutions, the world leaders of pump track construction. It means so much to the community after everything we’ve been through,” he said.

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The $240,000 pump track was funded by NZ Lotteries and Milford Foundation. Milford Foundation’s initial funding of $80,000 allowed Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust to apply for the remaining funding with NZ Lotteries.

The donation from Milford Foundation was the result of its brilliant sportspeople fundraiser in May 2023, which raised $249,000 for cyclone-affected community sporting organisations, including the Tairāwhiti Adventure Trust.

Chief Executive of Milford Foundation Bryce Marsden attended the opening ceremony this morning.

“We’ve been on this journey with the people of Ūawa for the past year and it’s a privilege to see the hard mahi, and the hopes of so many people, be realised today. Credit has to go to Haimona and the many locals who have driven this project forward,” he said.

The Ūawa Skate ‘n’ Park is now open at 33 Cook Street, Tolaga Bay for whānau and tamariki to enjoy.

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