Skater picks up dream role at park
Skateboarding has been a lifelong passion for Bay Skate’s new coordinator Will Hanson.
This month he moved countries, from Australia to New Zealand, for the new role at the Napier centre.
Hanson first picked up a skateboard as a 12-year-old after a friend received one for Christmas.
He thought it was so awesome he nagged his parents for one and pretty soon the sport became his main focus.
‘‘It became an obsession - it was all I wanted to do,’’ he said.
Hanson spent much of his teens developing the craft.
‘‘You have a trick in mind and you might spend weeks working towards it,’’ he said.
‘‘When you finally achieve it - it’s a satisfaction nothing else can give you.’’
He completed a bachelor of planning at the University of New South Wales and wove his passion into a thesis project, which focused on youth in urban environments including skateboarding.
In 2014 and 2015 he funded, organised and constructed a new skate park in the small town Cerrito de la Virgen in Peru.
As the streets were made of dirt the project created a small concrete area with ramps for children to play on and boards to bor- row. The park has grown into part skate park, part childcare centre.
He helped teach the kids to skate, then came back the following year. Hanson said it was awesome to see kids who could hardly stand on a board and push when he left, then able to perform differ- ent tricks a year on.
Before accepting the Napier role he worked for a community consultation firm in Sydney, which talked with different groups about what they wanted from built environments.
He has visited New Zealand before, but this would be his first time in the North Island.
He was waiting until he started as the coordinator on February 7 to find out what the community wanted from Bay Skate before developing any firm plans for the future.
However one thing was certain, Hanson wanted to make the park safe and welcoming for everyone who used it.
‘‘I’m passionate about what this sport can do for youth,’’ he said. ‘‘And bringing people together in an inclusive space.’’
Will Hanson from Bay Skate opened a skate park in Cerrito de la Virgen, Peru.