Wellingtonian a sports award finalist for teaching wāhine and takatāpui how to skate

By Jessica Tyson
Bailey Te Maipi ready for a skate

Wellington skater Bailey Te Maipi is a finalist at the Wellington Sports and Recreation Awards for leadership for skateboarding.

As part of her organisation, Waa Hine Skate, Bailey runs skateboarding lessons across the city to help wāhine and takatāpui learn to skate.

Bailey, of Tūhoe, Rongowhakaata and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, says being a finalist for the awards is an honour especially since she only started Waa Hine Skate this year. The leadership award is for an individual who has provided outstanding leadership in the sport and recreation sector.

“It feels amazing because skateboarding is seen as a male-dominated thing and it doesn’t really get taken seriously a lot. So to be recognised among other sports such as rugby and netball and cricket is unreal - it’s cool. I would have never thought it would happen.”

Bailey's skateboarding classes help participants build confidence and not feel intimidated about going to skate parks.

“Wāhine and takatāpui are the minority in the world and at a skate park definitely. So it’s just important to see each other at the skate park, she says.

“If you see other people at a skate park that look like you, you’re more likely to jump out and have a go.”

Bailey started skating when she was six years old but stopped when she got to high school and saw no other girls skating.

“I didn’t have Instagram or Youtube to see all of the other girls skating around the world and so, when I picked skateboarding back up in my early 20s, I wanted to encourage other girls to start skating," she says.

“I saw doing something like Waa Hine Skate as a way to introduce other girls into the scene and just to encourage other girls to keep going or get into it and have some fun.”

Since starting Waa Hine Skate she has taught students in schools across Wellington from new entrance all the way to year eights.

“That was a challenge but it was awesome and seeing all those tamariki get on the board and have a go.”

She’s also working with her local council to go into different kura and communities that wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to skateboard because it can be quite expensive, she says.

As well as teaching people how to skate, Bailey works at a skate store. She also loves playing rugby but has recently injured her knee.

“I love the environment women rugby creates particularly. It’s like a whānau whatever team you’re in. I still go to every game and every training even though I can’t play.”

Other finalists for the leadership award are Brendan Owens for community sport and recreation; Cam Mitchell for cricket; Chris Kingston for judo and Tim Shannahan for tennis.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, June 23.