Seemingly mundane inner-city locations were transformed into
demanding obstacle courses in Dunedin at the weekend.
About 50 people from around New Zealand and further afield
were in the city for the sixth annual New Zealand Parkour
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.
The practitioners who came to Dunedin had a determined eye
for finding environments to jump, swing or vault over, mixing
it up between landmarks such as the Octagon and seemingly
On Saturday, an everyday city car park became a place to test
and hone their skills and at one point the group became
distracted by the entrance to an inner city building.
Dunedin parkour enthusiast Alex Pearson (28), who was among
the group, said he looked at the world through a different
set of eyes since taking up the activity.
''I can't walk past somewhere without looking for what I
Mr Pearson, formerly a gymnast, was inspired to start the
activity after seeing online some of the amazing feats of
overseas practitioners who hop from building to building. It
was the freedom that made it so attractive.
''In gymnastics, you have to do things a certain way; you
will be marked out of 10 sort of thing.''
Whereas with parkour, you could ''make it your own'' and it
was more about personal expression.
The activity was growing in popularity in Dunedin and
bringing boys into the Dunedin Gymnastic Academy, where he
taught it to about 50 children.
There were also a few people in Dunedin who hopped around on
top of the city's buildings, like they did in Europe, but
they kept it pretty ''discreet''.
''You don't say too much, because people don't want you on
Rhys Kirk (19), who came all the way from Townsville, in
Australia, was impressed by the level of skill on show.