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First-ever BMX track in Ngatangiia taking shape

Thursday 10 August 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


First-ever BMX track in Ngatangiia taking shape
BMX enthusiasts Tony Takurua and Cooper Merito from New Zealand are hard at work building stage one of the first BMX bicycle track in Ngatangiia on land gifted by Pa Marie Ariki. MELINA ETCHES/23080903

A long-awaited dream is turning into reality for BMX enthusiasts as the construction of the first-ever track in Ngatangiia gains momentum, thanks to the tireless efforts of New Zealand-based Cook Islander Tony Takurua and the Cook Islands Cycling Federation.

With the completion of stage one just weeks away, excitement is building among the kids in the community.

Takurua, a building constructor and passionate BMX (Bicycle Motocross – an off-road sport bicycle used for racing and stunt riding) advocate, has a wealth of experience in the sport that has been a part of his family’s life for over 25 years.

In 2021, he kicked started the mission of bringing a dedicated BMX track to the Cook Islands to provide a safe and dynamic space for the growing number of eager bicycle, skateboard and scooter loving kids on the island.

After years of planning and searching for funds, the pump track vision is finally becoming tangible, set to transform over an acre of land gifted by Pa Marie Ariki into a thrilling wheels haven for Cook Islands children.

This week both Takurua and Cooper Merito, New Zealand BMX world champion, have been working on digger machinery, moving soil and getting the track shaped.

Takura said the outside perimeters of the track will be done this week and asphalted, and the inside of the track will then be built working their way out.

“This is stage one of our development and hopefully this will create more interest and support from Government.

“Kids love riding bikes and not every child wants to play netball or rugby.”

Takurua is confident the pump track will become popular for the kids. Its shape and design are built so kids on bicycles, skateboards and scooters (not motorised) can use it.

“We have designed this track a bit different from a BMX bike track because we want all kids to utilise this track.

“This is like a miniature version of formation of what we want to do for the competition BMX track which will be located at the back of the section.”

Takurua believes the country can achieve and produce future Olympians in BMX and skateboarding by having this facility fully completed for children to start and train on.

The funding for the development of stage one has come from the New Zealand High Commission.

Cook Islands businessowners Chris Vaile, Joe Heather, T&M Heather, CITC Building Centre, The Edgewater Resort, Infrastructure Cook Islands and others have also contributed to the project.

Takurua is an Olympic selector for Cycling New Zealand, and has designed and built BMX parks throughout New Zealand, Australia and the United States.