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INFORMATION, ADVICE, AND GUIDANCE

WHAT IS PARKOUR?

Parkour is a primarily non-competitive discipline and philosophy where practitioners adapt their movement to overcome physical obstacles in their environment. It is an empowering and diverse activity with several different schools of practice. Hover over a tile to learn more.

Art du Deplacement

Art du Déplacement (ADD) is the original French name for the practice, dating back to the late 80’s. Four of the original Yamakasi founders have continued to develop it via the ADD Academy network. There are no ADD schools in New Zealand.

Parkour

Parkour, the most popular name for the practice, is attributed to David Belle and is often described as moving from A to B efficiently, but inefficient and play-like activities are also characteristic. Many parkour practitioners practice freerunning and often use the terms interchangeably.

Freerunning

Freerunning, coined by Sebastian Foucan, is typically described as a more stylistic and acrobatic expression of the practice. Most freerunners also practice parkour and often use the terms parkour and freerunning interchangeably.

Sport Parkour

Sport Parkour encompasses competitive formats based on specific parkour and freerunning training styles – small snapshots of what takes place in wider parkour and freerunning training. As with the rest of the practice, competitive events are continually evolving.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Most Common Questions

What is freerunning? / Can you do a backflip?

  • The word freerunning was first used to describe parkour to an English speaking audience in the documentary Jump London. It is now most commonly associated with the more freestyle and acrobatic way of moving through ones environment.
  • Sebastian Foucan (founder of freerunning) defines it as “the art of expressing yourself through movement in your environment without limitations”.
  • In most places, parkour and freerunning are trained side by side and parkour is increasingly used as the umbrella term for both. Get amongst it!
  • Backflips are not a requirement or necessity for parkour or freerunning, though many practitioners do them.

Is parkour safe?

  • Parkour is actually all about safety (not danger) and is an excellent tool for teaching sound risk assessment. Even though skilled parkour practitioners can seem like they are doing daring feats, compared to the average person, they are typically more measured in their approach to training than beginners.
  • Parkour is not about stunts, and there is no expectation that new practitioners should copy what they see others doing. Most parkour techniques can be broken down and scaled, allowing for safe progression at each individual’s preferred pace.
  • Small cuts, bruises and scrapes come with the territory, but serious injuries are rare in parkour so long as you train sensibly. Start small and build up gradually over time. Only attempt things that you know you’re capable of and never do anything just because somebody told you to. If you follow the philosophy of parkour then avoiding major injuries for all of your training days is a very real possibility.

When is the next parkour gathering or community event?

  • Have a look at the sidebar or go direct to the event calendar to see when the next gatherings and events are.

Where is the nearest training facility or parkour park?

  • Right outside your front door! Parkour was born outdoors and that’s where it really thrives.
  • Currently there are no dedicated “parkour parks” in New Zealand, though there are indoor facilities that provide parkour training. While there are benefits to such spaces, you should know that the whole world is your playground – that means parkour parks are luxury items, not necessities.
  • Read our publication on Key Elements and Recommendations for the Integration of Parkour in Landscape and Design.

Should I start learning parkour inside first?

  • Not necessarily. It’s possible that no outdoor options suit you or your kids, so take what you can get it. However, some indoor training options (e.g. gymnastic centres) do not replicate natural or urban environments as they are not parkour facilities. Learning skills indoors and taking them outdoors does not always adequately prepare a practitioner for the demands of the real world and can be dangerous.
  • It can actually be safer to build up slowly in an outdoor environment where you’re required to have respect for yourself and your surroundings, receiving the necessary feedback to make wise decisions instead of pushing your boundaries without thinking in a “safe” environment.

I want to learn parkour, are there classes I can take?

  • Yes, there are training opportunities in most cities in New Zealand to suit everyone’s needs. Free training sessions facilitated by NZ Parkour members, classes by NZ Parkour instructors or our delivery partners and more.
  • To see what is available in your area, visit your training page.

What is parkour?

  • Parkour is a way of thinking/behaving mixed with a way of moving and training the body/mind. Parkour practitioners adapt their movements to overcome obstacles in their environment and at the same time, adhere to specific philosophies that guide their training.
  • Check out the what is parkour? page for a deeper look.

About NZ Parkour

Are there competitions? / Do you sponsor athletes?

  • Parkour is primarily non-competitive and though competitive opportunities are increasing, our main focus is on grassroots participation.
  • Our annual competition is called JAMZAC and held in Auckland over around ANZAC weekend.
  • We do regularly host and run community events that everyone can attend – see for yourself.

Do you teach instructors?

  • Yes, we have run numerious professional development workshops for instructors and are currently developing a coaching pathway that includes courses and a full certification. Head over to the coaching department for details.
  • We work with Regional Sports Trusts, running professional development workshops for PE teachers and sport coordinators.

What does NZ Parkour do?

  • If it’s parkour related, we do it; from advocacy to professional development, consultation to workshops, presentations to classes. Have a look at our what we do and see how we can help you. If what you’re looking for isn’t listed, ask us anyway, we bet we can help!

Who runs NZ Parkour?

  • NZ Parkour is run by some of the most experienced and passionate parkour practitioners from around the country and most of them are volunteers.
  • Have a look at the contact page to see same names and faces.

Parkour Training

What's the tallest thing you've jumped off? / What's the most extreme thing you've done?

  • Parkour is not an extreme sport or an activity for daredevils, nor is it about jumping off tall buildings and seeking thrills. Parkour is about the pursuit of sustainable self-development of the body and mind. It requires dedication, patience, and perseverance; a measured approach that allows one to grow and learn without hurting oneself, others or the environment.

Will I get in trouble for doing it?

  • Parkour is not illegal, but you have to be sensible where you do it. We do not condone trespassing and will not advocate for you if you have been caught doing something illegal. Keep your training to public places.
  • If you’re ever stopped by property owners, staff, security or police, stop your training and talk with them. Explain what parkour is, why you’re doing it, how the space you’re using is valuable to you and direct them to us for more information if necessary. If after a discussion they want you to go somewhere else, listen to them and find somewhere else to train. The last thing you want to do is have an argument and build a bad relationship.

What do I do in bad weather?

  • Go training! Just like training solo and with others is important, training in good and bad weather conditions prepares you for all scenarios.

Should I train alone or in a group?

  • You should try to do both! Parkour is a personal activity, so you need to train alone to truly know how your body moves and how your mind works in a training situation when you haven’t got any friends around. At the same time, parkour thrives in a community context, so train with other people to get fresh ideas and encouragement. Try not to get stuck in either camp.

Can I do parkour if I don't live in a city?

  • You sure can. Parkour isn’t an urban only activity, there just tends to be more people and more accessible obstacles in an urban environment.

What clothes/shoes do I need?

  • Light, flexible clothing is ideal, such as shorts/track pants and t-shirts. You don’t actually need to wear shoes to do parkour, but again, light and flexible is the key. Check out our blog for some shoe reviews.

What if I'm old, can I still do parkour?

  • Absolutely! All you need to do is get out there and give it a go. If you want some company, check out the training page.

What should I do to get fit/ready to do parkour?

  • You can actually do parkour right now regardless of how you feel or what you are capable of. Parkour is a training method where YOU define the obstacles and movements. You get to tailor your training to fit yourself in whatever stage of life/training you’re in. If you need some ideas or inspiration, head along to a local training or a class, they’ll work with you to show you what will be appropriate.

How much does it cost to do parkour?

  • Parkour is as cheap as you want it to be! You can start doing parkour right now for free (head over to your training page and to see how you can meet up with the locals) and never pay a cent.
  • Parkour NZ runs classes in Hamilton with termly, yearly and casual drop in rates. Check out the Shop for details.
  • Classes by parkour industry providers will vary from city to city and provider to provider. You will need to contact them directly for information.
  • If you stick with parkour it will change the way you view the environment and there’s a good chance you’ll get the itch to travel all over the world, to meet new people and explore foreign lands – this can get expensive. You have been warned 😉

Parkour History

What is a traceur/traceuse?

  • These are the French male/female terms for a parkour practitioner.

What does the word 'parkour' mean?

  • The word parkour is an anglicised version of the French word “parcours” which means route or course.

Where does parkour come from? / Who invented it?

  • The short answer is that it comes from France and was developed by 9 young men in the suburbs of Paris in the late 1980’s.
  • The full history of parkour is much richer however and is worth looking into.

OUTDOOR TRAINING

Considerations and Strategies

Parkour started as an outdoor practice in urban and natural areas of Paris. The connection between the human body and outdoor environments, i.e. in the city and in nature, is key to a flourishing parkour experience. This is where we learn to truly understand our bodies and how they relate to the world we live in.

When training outdoors, there are several ideas and strategies that practitioners should consider:

Suitable Training Locations

Part of being a capable practitioner and having good training experiences is knowing where to train. Some of the most popular training locations are areas that provide a lot of variety – heights, distances, terrain, textures, materials, etc. but any obstacles that can sustain parkour training may also suitable. However, it is helpful for everyone if you stick to public spaces or areas that you have permission to train in.

Consider the context of your desired training location as some areas may only be suitable during daylight hours, or only suitable outside of work hours.

Prior to any training, test the obstacles to ensure they are robust and can withstand the type of movements you intend. Also check the surfaces to see if your hands, shoes, or feet have enough grip. Avoid training on slippery surfaces if you are unprepared for them.

Physical and Mental Ability

Parkour is, of course, a dynamic physical activity and thus injuries are possible. It is, however, a ‘challenge by choice’ activity, i.e. self-controlled, so you can take sensible measures to reduce the chances of accidents happening.

Prepare your body and mind through adequate warm-ups, physical conditioning, and progressive skill training. Avoid pushing your limits or attempting new skills when you’re fatigued and don’t show off. Eat and stay hydrated during traing. Consider also the long-term impact of your training (to be and to last) and general health habits.

The following questions may be helpful:

  • Have I warmed up?
  • Have I done this before?
  • Have I done something similar to this?
  • Do I have any doubts about my safety?
  • Am I tired? / Should I take a break?
  • Is this type of training sustainable?
  • Am I getting enough rest/adequate nutrition?

Respect for Others / Environment

The most suitable and available spaces for parkour training have typically been designed with other purposes in mind. Therefore, be respectful of these spaces and of the other users who may occupy them.

Utilise the ‘leave no trace’ ethic. In other words, do not damage property or gardens (if an accident does occur, inform the appropriate people). Choose obstacles that are suitable for parkour. If they are broken, or cannot sustain large forces, do not train on them. Take any rubbish with you, and if possible, leave the location in better condition than you found it.

Refrain from disrupting others when training in spaces that are also close to areas of work or study. You should consider your general presence, activities, and your noise. Do not block pedestrian, cycle, or wheelchair access ways. In general, give other users the right of way.

Parkour training can look spectacular. Sometimes this can draw a crowd, encourage others to copycat (particularly young people) and in other circumstances can frighten or frustrate people. Consider how your training may influence those around you.

Also, ensure you’re being respectful to other practitioners of all experience levels. Take turns, give and receive advice, watch out for each other.

Lastly, many people do not have regular interactions with the parkour community, so your actions will often inform their opinions of parkour. It is, therefore, important to be a good ambassador for the practice.

Summary

  • Parkour is primarily an outdoor activity, so train outdoors regularly.
  • Choose training locations that are safe and appropriate to use.
  • Respect the environment you’re training in.
  • Respect other people you are training with.
  • Respect other people in the area you’re training.
  • Consider the impact your training has on others.
  • Be a good ambassador for parkour.

INDOOR TRAINING

Coming soon!

FIND TRAINING NEAR YOU

If you have a body that can move, then you can do parkour. Young, old, fit, unfit, experienced, unexperienced – everyone can benefit from parkour training. Here in New Zealand we have a thriving parkour community full of people who will jump at the chance to help you begin your journey.

MEMBERSHIP

Parkour NZ membership is one of the best ways to demonstrate your passion for and involvement in the New Zealand parkour community.

Non-Financial Member

Free

Show us that you’re part of the community by becoming a non-financial member. Your membership will enable us to more accurately understand the spread of interest and participation in New Zealand, helping us to get funding and direct it at the right parts of the country.

  • Annual membership
  • Newsletter subscription

Financial Member

$10.00

The best way to show your support for parkour in New Zealand is by becoming a financial member. Not only will your membership help us to better understand our community and help us to get funding, you’ll be able to directly influence the direction of parkour in New Zealand (think parkour parks, jams, competitions, facilities, community initiatives, etc.).

  • Annual membership
  • Newsletter subscription
  • Voting rights at Parkour NZ meetings
  • Participate in Parkour NZ competitions

MEMBER ORGANISATIONS

NZ Parkour works with high-quality groups to ensure that New Zealanders have access to the best possible parkour offerings and can, therefore, benefit from its life-changing traits.

ABOUT NZ PARKOUR

NZ Parkour is the National Recreation Organisation governing, supporting, and providing for the parkour and wider community. As a registered charity, we use parkour as a vehicle for positive self-development in people's lives.

NAME & LOGO

New Zealand Parkour – Tauhōkai Aotearoa (NZ Parkour)

On May 6th 2011, NZ Parkour was gifted the name Tauhōkai Aotearoa by Te Haumihiata Mason from Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori – The Māori Language Commission.

‘Tauhōkai’ = to glide [flow], move quickly, reach. This describes the manner in which parkour practitioners glide fluidly over their terrain.

‘Aotearoa’ = The land of the long white cloud, a.k.a New Zealand. This is the country that we live in and the people we represent.

NZ Parkour Ensō

An ensō is “a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create”[1].

The journey of the practitioner is to be able to move and think effectively and instinctually. For us, the ensō (with the addition of the silver fern) depicts the journey of the kiwi parkour practitioner.

HISTORY

NZ Parkour  was incorporated in 2011 by some of New Zealand’s most experienced and passionate parkour practitioners to assist in the healthy development of our discipline and the growth of New Zealand’s parkour scene.
APA

The early development of NZ Parkour was achieved with the assistance of the Australian Parkour Association (APA). We have formed a strong relationship with the APA, our closest neighbouring community. We continue to operate a trans-Tasman partnership with the APA to build upon and create a positive and consistent future for our community.

In 2013, to better reflect the desires of the community, NZ Parkour became the first national parkour organisation to also be registered as a charity. NZ Parkour provides for the practising community while concurrently using parkour’s unique life-changing traits to encourage, inspire and change peoples lives.

In 2017, NZ Parkour became a founding member federation alongside the APA, Parkour UK, Parkour South Africa, FPK, and Poland, of Parkour Earth, the international federation for parkour.

MISSION, VISION & VALUES

Our Mission

Main purpose: Promote positive self-development, health and education through parkour in New Zealand.

Secondary purpose: Provide opportunities and support for parkour instructors, traceurs/traceuses and the public to further the above aims.

Our Vision

Our vision is for lives to be changed through parkour. For this to take place there are certain concepts that must be explored and realised by all of us (staff, practitioners and public alike).

  • Parkour is valuable: An excellent tool for self-development. 
  • Parkour is available: Instructors, mentors and opportunities are waiting for you. 
  • Parkour is attainable: A discipline for all ages and abilities. 
  • Parkour is here to stay: Not a fad, a lifestyle.

Our Values

Our values are the code that we operate by. They underpin all our work and shape how we manoeuvre, helping to make our vision a reality.

  1. Community: We are open and inclusive of all peoples, cultures and journeys.
    “He iwi tahi tatou (We are all one people)” – William Hobson
  2. Adaptability: Landscapes and challenges change, our movements and actions transform to meet them.
    “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.” – Bruce Lee
  3. Stewardship: Sensible ownership of our actions and responsibilities.
    “Leave no trace” – Principle of outdoor ethics
  4. Longevity: Living lives of safe continual progression for lasting health.
    “Être et durer (To be and to last)” – 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment Motto
  5. Spirit: Passion for and dedication to living and spreading the original essence of parkour.
    “Être fort pour être utile (Be strong to be useful)” – George Hébert

THE BOARD

Michelle Kan
Elected Member
Michelle has been quietly involved in the NZ parkour scene for many years, alternating between filming the community and practicing themselves – be it physically or in the application of its principles to ace their daily life. Their love of parkour saw them devote two years to creating MOVE (Flow Like Water): A Parkour Documentary (2015), Aotearoa’s first feature film on the NZ parkour community.

Michelle’s own journey with parkour has been one of inner strength and self-development, and they find comfort and solidarity in the traditional Chinese philosophies within parkour’s ideals. From their own experience, they believe wholeheartedly in the application of parkour to help tackle mental health issues and hope to make it an accessible practice to other queer & disabled youth and POC who may benefit from it as they have.

Maika Hemera
Elected Member
Maika has always loved movement since he was a kid and was very thankful when parkour started to become mainstream, as it gave him an outlet and a name for what he had been doing when he was younger.

He started doing parkour in 2006 and made it a serious part of his life in 2010. He loves everything about parkour, from the movement to the community and the visually impressive feats that many athletes can do, inspiring him to train for fun and self-challenge.

He is a highly respected member of the New Zealand parkour community and hopes to use both his parkour and professional experiences to help keep NZ Parkour heading in a positive and exciting direction.

Tim Rogers
Elected Member
Tim is a founding member of NZ Parkour and one of the longest standing practitioners in the country and in his own quiet, watchful way he has been involved with parkour in Aotearoa since the early days.

Tim has a lot to thank parkour for, as it is ultimately what led Tim's path to cross with Hannah's, and together they're working on New Zealand's next generation of parkour practitioners. Watch out for the Rogers and their two children turning up in your town in their big red house-bus sometime soon.

Nigel Elvidge
Appointed Member (Chair)
Nigel has been involved in sports, education, and coaching for a long time. He has a passion for how these can help individuals and communities grow and develop. He's always had an interest in activities that are often perceived as ‘alternative’ as this is where boundaries are pushed and creativity can flourish.

His involvement with parkour has been to support and identify areas of potential growth at both local and national levels and challenge the way in which parkour is both perceived and portrays itself whilst maintaining its integrity and ethos.

Nigel believes parkour has much to offer and is greatly enjoying working with a proactive Board in this time of challenge and growth.

Terri Willcocks
Appointed Member
Terri has always been involved in many aspects of sport, including athlete, coach, judge, umpire and committee member. After graduating from Otago University with a degree in Physical Education, she headed off to Sydney where she managed one of the countries largest gymnastics clubs. Wanting to return to grassroots community sport in New Zealand, Terri now resides in Marlborough and recently finished with the Regional Sports Trust where she was coordinating a talent development programme, leading coach education and initiatives to improve governance in local sports organisations.

Damien Puddle
CEO (Non-Voting Member)
Damien is a founding member of NZ Parkour and in 2013, after officially taking over leadership, has been spearheading the growth of the organisation. He is passionate about parkours transformative powers and loves providing opportunities for the diverse practitioner base in New Zealand.

He is a board member of Parkour Earth and is currently completing his PhD at the University of Waikato. Working title - Making the Jump: Examining the Development of Parkour in New Zealand.

PARKOUR EARTH

In 2017 NZ Parkour, together with 5 other national parkour federations (Parkour UK, Australian Parkour AssociationFédération de Parkour, Parkour South Africa, and Polska Federacja Parkour I Freerun) reached an accord to federate an international federation – Parkour Earth – to be the custodian of the philosophy, integrity, and sovereignty of the sport, art and/or discipline of Parkour/Freerunning/Art du Déplacement internationally for and on behalf of the international community.

FEEDBACK

Parkour NZ is a community organisation committed to both serving the parkour community and using parkour to serve the wider community. It’s therefore important for us to continue to receive regular feedback (on anything we do or don’t do!) so we can work towards the best possible services to New Zealand.

DONATE

  • One-off Donation (via PayPal, Credit, or Debit Card) – Click the button below.

  • Payroll Giving – Donate to us direct from your pay and receive immediate tax credits that reduce your payable PAYE.

  • Corporate Sponsor – Contact us to talk about aligning your brand with one of the most visually compelling recreation activities.

Your generous support helps us to ensure more New Zealanders get access to quality parkour opportunities.

(And seeing as we're a charity, you get your tax back!)

LATEST NEWS

The latest regional, national, and international news regarding NZ Parkour and the New Zealand parkour community.

Parkour Landing Research #2

Parkour Landing Research #2 The results of our initial research project showed that traceurs should continue to employ parkour style landing landing strategies (precision landings and rolls) rather than traditional toe-heel landings. We then wanted to find out...

Parkour Landing Research

Parkour Landing Research In 2013, our CEO’s first research paper – Ground reaction forces and loading rates associated with parkour and traditional drop landing techniques – was published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. The i...

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