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Cooks first BMX track a hit with the kids

Monday 28 August 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Cycling, Other Sports, Sports


Cooks first BMX track a hit with the kids
Kids on wheels make the most of the new The Rock Bike Park pump track in Ngatangiia. MELINA ETCHES/23082535

The dream of BMX enthusiast Tony Takurua is now a reality with the opening of the first Pump Track ‘The Rock Bike Park’ in the Cook Islands at Ngatangiia.

Kids on wheels waited surprisingly quietly but rather impatiently for the opening ceremony to be completed so they could test out the new track.

The Pump Track is basically a miniature BMX track where kids can learn to ride a bike.

It is built like a skate park to cater for skate boarders and non-motorised scooters to accommodate more kids.

 “It’s rewarding to see that what we’ve done is finally completed for the kids,” said Takura.

“I think it will be a good asset for the kids here.

“It’s been a  long time coming, and I hope that people can see the vision of what we want to do on the rest of the site.”

Takurua noted the invaluable contribution and support from sponsors big and small to the project.

However, he said more sponsors and donations are needed to complete the bigger BMX track on site towards inland of the back road.

“My challenge to other business owners is, you were once a kid and may have kids, so why wouldn’t you want this in your back yard.

“People need to get on board and give back.”

Visitors are also welcome to make a contribution to the bike park.

The David Pearson family from Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand have been visiting the Cooks for 25 years, and have come on board contributing to the project.

Cooper Merito, a former NZ BMX Champion and former world finalist played a big part in building the track.

Takura’s partner Lisa Rowe beautified the area with gardens to liven up the track.

Students from Vaka Takitumu performed a solid pe’e to mark the opening ceremony.

Landowner Pa Marie Ariki and contributor New Zealand High Commissioner, Tui Dewes were given the honours of cutting the rauti ribbon.

“I’m so happy to see this pump track is now open and ready for our kids to use,” Pa Marie Ariki said

“Our kids can use this park to train on and continue overseas and compete in championships all over the world.

“I’m happy for Tony’s achievement and his passion to continue with the project.

“I’m glad he is a proud Cook Islander who wanted to bring this home and build something for our children to enjoy.”

Ten-year-old Temanava Patai from Matavera and his friends waited excitedly for the park to open.

“It’s great and I’m going to come every day on my bicycle,” he said.

Tinokura Wong, also aged 10 says, “it looks so cool, and as soon as it opens I’m going to cycle on it.”

Cook Islands BMX Association member Damien Beddoes was pleased to see the park open.

“It’s a pretty special feeling to see something come to fruition, something that very few of us have experiences in.

“To be able to bring it to the Cooks and let our kids have access to something like this, to give them new skills and give them a place to hang out with their friends in a safe environment.

“Cycling is a sport that support both genders, and there are so many opportunities, it’s now creating a pathway to the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

“It’s really heart-warming to see it completed.”

Local triathlete Kevin Henderson was also happy to see the pump track done for kids to use.

He shared some tips for kids who love their bikes.

Most people leave their bikes outside, and kids need to learn to look after their bikes, said Henderson.

Once a week drop some oil (any oil) on the bikes and rub it in, he says.

“It doesn’t need much oil (chainsaw oil can be used but it can easily pick up dust), rub it down once a week for your bike to last longer. And park your bikes under cover.”

Takura has more exciting news for parents and kids who love wheels.

On November 11, The Cook Islands Pump Track Nationals will be held at the pump track.

Four to five riders from New Zealand will be attending the competition and will highlight how the track is to be ridden.

Kids here will have a couple of months to practice before the competition which will be a time trial.

Everyone is welcome to use pump track which will be open only during daylight hours, and people must respect the neighbours, and the church next door, said Takurua.

The Rock Bike Park rules are: No motorbikes, alcohol, smoking or vaping, No E bikes of motorised scooters, no littering, ride only on the track, wear bike helmets at all times. All users do so at their own risk. Open only during daylight hours and must respect the neighbours and the neighbouring church

The Cook Islands BMX Association would like to thank sponsors: Pa Marie Ariki for the gift of the land for the kids, New Zealand High Commissioner Tui Dewes, Tony Takurua for his time and effort clearing and building the track, Edgewater, Matt Wyatt and the GiveaLittlePage, Triad, T&M Heather, South City Contractors and all those who have kindly contributed to the track.