People began roller skating in the mid-1860s. It became especially popular during the 1880s. Most towns and cities in New Zealand had at least one skating rink – the first was probably in Hokitika, which was open by 1866.
At first people skated for recreation, but it developed into a sport. The New Zealand Roller Skating Association, which held national speed and artistic competitions, was founded in 1937. New Zealanders have competed successfully at an international level since 1955. People also play roller hockey.
In the mid-20th century outdoor concrete rinks were built in many towns and cities. Skating became popular again in the early 1980s.
In the 2000s roller derby, a women’s contact sport on roller skates, grew in popularity. In 2012 there were 21 roller derby leagues around New Zealand.
Skateboarding started in the 1950s in the United States as a way of ‘street surfing’. At first people made their own boards, but then commercially made boards became available. Skateboarding became very popular in the 1970s, especially amongst young men. People skateboarded where ever they could – on roads, footpaths and car parks. In the later 1970s skateboard parks were built, though some closed after the 1970s craze ended. Skateboarding became popular again in the late 1980s.
Skateboarding competitions have been held in New Zealand since the 1970s and several New Zealand skateboarders have become well-known internationally.