New Zealand Parkour Association president Damien Puddle, of
Hamilton, tests Dunedin's central cityscape ahead of the
sixth annual national parkour gathering starting in Dunedin
today. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Dunedin's obstacles are about to be overcome.
The city's historic architecture and urban landscape has
attracted up to 100 parkour practitioners for the sixth
annual New Zealand Parkour Association gathering this
Athletes from throughout New Zealand, Australia and Canada
will spend today, tomorrow and Sunday running, jumping,
climbing, swinging, vaulting and rolling through the
Parkour started in France in the late 1980s and was developed
from military obstacle course training as a method of getting
from A to B in the most efficient way possible.
It is the first time the national gathering has been held in
Dunedin. It was previously hosted in Auckland, Wellington and
Christchurch. Association president Damien Puddle spent
yesterday scoping the city.
Mr Puddle, of Hamilton, said parkour taught practitioners to
overcome obstacles, physical and mental, and developed
flexibility in their bodies and minds.
''For some, the physicality of overcoming obstacles is the
hardest part. For others, looking silly in front of people
can be the most challenging aspect.''
Each practitioner picked obstacles appropriate to them and
approached parkour in a different way, so there was no right
or wrong, he said.
''The beautiful thing is it's non-competitive.
''You don't have to match anyone else or look like anyone
else, and everyone has things they can play to their
abilities and how their mind works.''
Association Southland representative Terry Guyton, of
Invercargill, said Dunedin was a ''close second'' behind
Wellington for offering the best parkour landscape in the
Its old buildings, in particular, provided great terrain, he
He said the sport was growing in popularity and attracted
predominantly teenage males.
''I'll be the second-oldest at the gathering, at 28. About
90% of them will be 18-year-olds,'' he said.