22 Jun 2019

Ōtara Stuntz Bike Competition connects with aspirational youth

9:33 pm on 22 June 2019

A bike stunt competition for South Auckland youth is being hailed as a successful way to engage with young people.

About 50 people gathered in Papatoetoe today to watch youth show off tricks on bicycles at the Ōtara Stuntz Bike Competition.

For 15-year-old Isaiah, it was something he had been looking forward to.

"It's close to the hood, we weren't going to miss this day and this opportunity," he said.

He has been riding bikes since he was very young and hopes he will continue it when he is older.

"I want to be a mechanic and build my own bike from scratch."

One of the organisers, Rocky Misiepo, who is also a social worker, said the turnout was great.

"I think it's overwhelming to have this amount of young people... it's getting there but it'll get better, this is only our first trial," he said.

The competition is a hook to get to know more about the youth and this time around they have found out that there are teenagers who aspire to be a mechanic and another who wants to be a doctor.

One of the judges of the event mixed martial arts fighter, Sigifili Pesaleli, said there needed to be more of these events for young people.

"It's good that we have people who can connect with the kids, it's hard for other people to come in and tell our kids what to do," he said.

"I'm from Ōtara too and I know how to talk their language and help."

The organisers hope to have more bike stunt competitions in the future.