Aotearoa has spoken. Eke Tahi, meaning ‘Ride as One’, is the name of The New Zealand Olympic Committee’s giant 12-metre-long, 800kg skateboard. The name was announced yesterday at Kaikohe West School as Eke Tahi kicked off its epic 41-day Great Olympic Skate Roadshow.
Nearly 1,000 Kiwis entered names for the super-sized skateboard representing the Olympic Games offering more extreme, more urban and more youth-focused events, including skateboarding, surfing and three-on-three basketball.
Eke Tahi, nominated by Karyn Fisher of Maraetai, Auckland, was selected as the name best capturing the pride of Kiwis and excitement for the hopes of the New Zealand Team of athletes being carried by the giant skateboard.
The three runners-up include Oly (by Joel Crump of Tauranga), Ralph (by Rebecca Merriman of Tauranga) and Blake’s Board (by Natasha Dalley of Tauranga).
The name Ralph honours Kiwi Skateboarding legend Lee Ralph, while Blake’s Board honours the life of 13- year-old Blake Dalley, who was passionate about skateboarding.
And with over 40 nominations, a People’s Choice runner-up goes to Skatey McSkateFace.
Former Olympic gold medallist Barbara Kendall led a panel of Olympians to decide the winning name, including Olympic shot putter Maddison-Lee Wesche, Olympic Canoe Slalom athlete Finn Butcher and President of Skateboarding New Zealand Chris Curran.
The judges were blown away by the entries, with Kendall saying Kiwis were incredibly thoughtful and creative in how they linked the super-sized skateboard with Aotearoa.
“The Great Olympic Skate is all about having fun while backing our athletes – and being typically innovative as we Kiwis tend to be,” Kendall says.
“Eke Tahi is such a beautiful name with a wonderful message for our athletes. We can’t wait to see Kiwis coming out to meet Eke Tahi, making this record-breaking skateboard a moment in our country’s history before the games have even begun.”
Karyn Fisher was inspired to call the skateboard Eke Tahi after seeing the challenges faced by the athletes in a year of disruptions.
“Athletes are athletes because they don’t give up. I’m so excited to see New Zealand come together to support our athletes and recognise their hard work.
“My daughter, Kirsten Fisher-Marsters, is hoping to compete in Tokyo as a swimmer for the Cook Islands. She has previously represented the islands at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 and I see the dedication that she and her fellow athletes put into their sports.
“For me, Eke Tahi is a symbol of us all coming together as one.”
As the winner, Karyn Fisher receives a custom replica of Eke Tahi.
Eke Tahi will now tour the country for the Great Olympic Skate Roadshow over 41 days, bringing with it a range of sports activities, surfboards to sign with messages of support for athletes in Tokyo, and surprise Olympians.
The roadshow began at Kaikohe West School yesterday, where the students came together with students from Kaikohe East School, Kaikohe Intermediate and Kaikohe Christian School to see Eke Tahi and meet skateboarders Bowman Hansen and Matt Markland who performed tricks on top of the skateboard.
With skateboarding now an Olympic Sport, Bowman Hansen and Matt Markland hope to represent New Zealand in the event at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Eke Tahi is now travelling down to Invercargill before heading back to Auckland, where it will make its final stop on Saturday 19 June at Sylvia Park.