Bailey Te Maipi was born and raised in the skateparks of the Kāpiti Coast. She is the founder and lead instructor for Waa Hine Skate, as well as Kairuruku at Mana Inc, empowering wāhine and takatāpui to give skatboarding a go.
Bailey says skateboarding’s promotion to an Olympic sport in 2020 has been instrumental to it’s jump in popularity. “It shows the beauty of skating. It can be athletic or just something you do to relax on a Sunday afternoon.” Skateboarding is now perceived as equal to other sports and as such receives high performance sport funding.
Bailey also says skaters online have heightened people’s understanding and interest, and demonstrated that it’s not a male dominated sport. Bailey notes that all genders participate: “It’s something that girls and the LGBTQI+ community didn’t have growing up before.” She teaches young and adult wāhine and takatāpui to hone their skills on a board and develop confidence.
Here she talks to us about the best concert she’s ever been to, her biggest regret, and more.
What did/do you want to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be both a professional soccer player AND a professional skateboarder. I had started skating at six years old and soccer at 10 and fell in love with both of them. I rarely saw any other girls at the skatepark and if they were they weren’t on a skateboard. There were a few more girls playing soccer when I was younger but given the lack of representation of wāhine in both of these sports I’m proud of little me for thinking that these were real and achievable goals.
Have you ever had a bad accident? What happened?
When I was about 11 we were coming home from a whānau trip in Napier and we had stopped in Shannon so my Dad could grab something from the dairy really quickly, but were told to stay in the car while he was in there. He had said this to us because it was right next to the skatepark in Shannon and he knew I’d want to go for a quick skate.
So as kids do, I didn’t listen to him and went to the skatepark anyway. Unfortunately when I had rolled in on the half pipe (like dropping in but you just let your wheels roll over the ramp) my back wheels got stuck on the pipe and I face planted into the concrete. When I hurt myself as a kid I rarely cried because I was trying to look tough and this was one of those times.
There was one person at the skatepark who came to check on me and he said that my nose was bleeding. I checked my nose in disbelief because I’d never had a bleeding nose before and I was actually quite stoked it had finally happened. I wiped under my nose expecting to see blood, but there was nothing. Then he said “oh, it’s your chin”. I had split my chin open when I smashed the ground and was probably in shock because I acted like it was totally fine. I went over to the car and my sister immediately started crying and thought I was going to die (like the drama queen she has always been).
My Dad was obviously not stoked about this situation, and then to make matters worse we got stuck in traffic, so I had to hold a towel on my chin for over an hour until we got to the medical centre in Kāpiti.
After three stitches and two butterfly stitches I left the medical centre with a lovely big plaster on my chin and a great story to tell!
If you could change one thing about Wellington/Wairarapa/Kāpiti, what would that be?
I would change the fact that there are no indoor skateparks in any of these areas which is crazy given how wild the weather is here.
What are you watching, reading, or listening to at the moment?
Tash Sultana at the Wellington Opera House in 2018. They are such an amazing performer and it was so cool to see them in such a small and intimate venue. I saw them again the next year at a big festival and although they were still unreal, it definitely wasn’t the same experience.
What’s your biggest regret?
Probably giving up skateboarding when I went to high school. I had skated from age 6 to 13 but when I went to high school the assimilation of the whole high school experience really took over and because it wasn’t really a “cool” thing to do as a girl I gave it up.
I wish there had been more representation of girls and women skateboarding when I was that age because I truly think that I would have kept skating.
When I picked it up again in my 20’s the fearlessness I had as a kid had totally gone, which makes it a lot harder to get out of my comfort zone and try new tricks.