A modified shipping container café is at the centre of a skatepark that has united and transformed a Hawkes Bay community.
Te Pae Whīra o Pā Harakeke, a skatepark in the Hawkes Bay suburb of Flaxmere, is home to Ka Pai Cuppa Teina which operates out of a modified Royal Wolf shipping container.
“The skatepark has been an incredible success story for our community,” says Shelley Pritchard, owner of Ka Pai Cuppa Teina.
“It’s an amazing skate facility and park but amenities like the café make it a meeting place for people – and a real hub for Flaxmere,” she says.
The Royal Wolf Hawkes Bay team partnered with Hastings District Council to create the customised, pop-up container café for the site. The container, which Ka Pai Cuppa Teina lease from council, also doubles as an office space for kaitiaki (guardians) who monitor and look after the park.
The container has a servery and large window for the café, and the kaitiaki space has a shutter window to ensure they have a view of the park.
“The container provides a safe and secure building for the café,” says Pritchard, “but more importantly, it is a chance to be at the heart of the community and be part of a park that brings our community together.”
Transformative community project
Rachel Stuart, Hastings District Council Parks Planning and Development Manager, says the impact of the skate park and the high-quality recreational facilities it provides has been invaluable for the community.
“Parks like Te Pae Whīra o Pā Harakeke are truly transformational for a community in terms of outdoor activity, social wellbeing, strengthening communities, and learning new skills.”
The council undertook widespread community consultation during the planning and development of the skate park. More than 200 skateboarders, scooter riders, students, parents and Flaxmere residents were involved in designing the skatepark, from the sorts of skates ramps through to the planting that surrounds the area.
However, a core working group of 10 young people – made up of two ākonga (students) from each of the five schools in the area – led the consultation process.
Coffee container please!
“It was during this consultation process that the community identified the need for a coffee container for the site to provide seating and a place for kaitiaki to keep an eye on the park,” says Stuart.
“This deep level of community consultation has strengthened the sustainability of Pā Harakeke Skate Park. The Park is a real source of pride. The community feels a sense of genuine ownership which means that since its opening, there has been no wilful damage or graffiti to the facilities.”
A container suited council’s needs perfectly because it was semi-permanent, and the units have been used successfully in other park projects including William Nelson Skate Park and Albert Square in Hastings.
“Containers are simple to design, modify and fabricate to the specific needs of the tenant and aesthetically they fit the look and feel of the skatepark,” says Stuart.
The local summer night markets have shifted permanently to the park with vendors, including a range of food trucks, reporting increased sales.
“It’s a real meeting place. Parents can have a coffee, relax, and socialise while both older and younger children are happy with skating and the many other activities on offer in the park.”