WELLINGTON, New Zealand — If you venture past a skate park on any given day in the center of New Zealand’s capital, look for the skaters with neon hair. There’s a good chance they’re members of Wozer, an ever-evolving collective of young, diverse skaters, musicians and artists that has revolutionized the skate scene in Wellington in part by making it more welcoming to women and gender minorities.

The group has blossomed in this city of approximately 200,000 residents, known for its abundance of native birds, must-visit coffee shops and notoriously strong winds. It’s also a great place to attempt an ollie or ramp trick. Becki Moss, a photographer and artist based in New Zealand, followed the Wozer collective for two years, capturing their lives, their athleticism and their creativity.

The first Wozer meeting was held in June 2022 by a group of friends who loved the sport, an effort to take their group chat offline and into the real world. Two years later, the collective has released two print magazines and become an increasingly visible force within the scene, teaching workshops at festivals and collaborating with clothing brands, including Converse.

The point is to show skaters who feel left out of the sport’s cis-male-dominated spaces that there’s a hub for them, too. As the group writes in its 2022 zine: “Skating is infamous for its community, when you find a skate community you love, you become part of an instant family. Unfortunately, in amongst a battle of male egos, there wasn’t much room for us in our own local skate communities.”

Clare Milne is a 23-year-old visual communications design student who moved from Gisborne to Wellington to study. She created the first version of Wozer magazine in May 2022 for a school assignment. Five months later, backed by a sponsorship from Kingsbeer Architecture, the first issue was officially released the same weekend as Bowlzilla, a national skateboard championship.

“It’s given a lot of people confidence in their identity,” Milne said. “Just meeting like-minded people, it really made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I think the reason I’m so passionate about this is because I saw how these people influenced my life.”

While the city-run Waitangi skate park features impressive bowls and ramps, Milne said enthusiasts might wish to venture out of the central business district and up a hill behind Wellington city hospital. There you’ll find “Hospital DIY” — a skate park created by the skating community over the years. They have community members who are committed to reinvigorating the area by designing structured skating experiences in community spaces.

Here, Gala Baumfield, 22, showed where the handprint of their mother, Pearl, is set in the concrete. Their hands are the same size. Pearl died in April 2023 after fighting lung cancer. The Wozer community supported Baumfield as a young caregiver and after their mother’s death continued as their found family, they said.

Baumfield is a testament to the passion and dedication of Wozer. They have been skateboarding since they could walk and are now recognized as one of the country’s best female skaters. It’s common to find them teaching their fellow Wozer members new moves at the skate park. Other members of the Wozer collective include an arborist, photographers, DJs, a pilot in training, tattoo artists, students, youth workers and more.

Then there is Tessa Hill, 21, who has been a core member of Wozer since its inception. They now work full time as a DJ, having gotten a boost by opening for the British electronic artist Fred Again. Skating since 2018, Hill created Surely Skate alongside their sister Sophee Hill and friend Georgia Richardson. In their hometown of Gisborne, they noticed “how more and more girl skaters kept coming to skate with us,” Hill said.

Wozer is continuing to grow. Initially, the group identified itself as a hub for women and gender minorities, but it has since expanded to include cis men. Baumfield says this was because “it just felt really exclusionary to a lot of trans whanau” — a Maori term for extended family or community — “especially if you’re not open about being trans, and you don’t really want to broadcast it to the whole world.”

Whatever it is, it’s a work in progress. Wozer member Camden Jackson, 21, grew up in South Auckland before moving to Wellington in 2022. A photographer and filmmaker, Baumfield is working with 22-year-old director Molly Doyle on a documentary about Hill’s DJ career. “There is so much creativity surrounding skating. Photography, fashion, music, graphic design. … Maybe the intersection of all of these practices is learning that failing is a part of the process.” Camden said. “Skating is just that over and over again, and there’s no way to avoid it.”



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