Downtown Mount Maunganui will be awash with orange on Thursday, 30 November as over 800 primary and intermediate school students march and wave banners in the Schools’ Road Safe Orange Walk.
The event is a joint initiative between Travel Safe (Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District Councils) and New Zealand Police with generous support from Road Safe Traffic Management. The event has been held annually since 2007 and will make its first appearance in Mount Maunganui this year, after being cancelled due to weather in 2022.
Anna Somerville: Tauranga City Council Transport Network Safety & Sustainability Manager says the event is a chance to celebrate and reward the contribution of student volunteers for their important road safety work throughout the year.
“Schools’ Road Safe Orange Walk is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of our Travel Safe and Travel Smart students, and road patrols who work hard to ensure their peers can get to and from school safely. It gives students a voice and helps raise awareness of road safety and active travel around schools.”
The sheer number of hours volunteered by the school road patrols each year paints an incredible picture of the volume of work across the region. Forty-three crossings operate for fifty minutes a day, two-hundred days of the year for a staggering 7,160 collective hours per-year.
Jim Paterson: Western Bay of Plenty District Council Transportation Manager says the collective goal is to promote safe and sustainable travel in our region – educating drivers and pedestrians on how to share the road responsibly.
“Road safety is a key issue for our community, and that’s why we support the annual Road Safe Orange Walk. This year promises to be no different to the others, with plenty of fun and colour to raise awareness and education about how to stay safe on the roads.
“Together, we can make our roads safer for everyone.”
Senior Sergeant Wayne Hunter: Western Bay of Plenty New Zealand Police says a highlight of the day is the banner competition and judges will have a hard time on their hands if previous years’ entries are anything to go by.
“The effort and creativity that the students put into their banners is amazing. These kids have a real awareness of the roads around their schools, and the safety and active travel messages they are sharing are very relevant to them and their communities.”
The day begins at Coronation Park at 9:15am with speeches from Commissioner Bill Wasley and Western Bay of Plenty Mayor James Denyer. The walk starts at 9:30am, following a route along Maunganui Road, around the roundabout at Pacific Avenue and back to the start. Temporary road closures will be in place.
Friends, family, locals, and visitors are encouraged to line the route, make some noise, and show their support for the students.
After the walk the students will make their way to Baywave for a swim and a celebratory BBQ cooked by the police.
For event updates visit facebook.com/travelsafebop.