The future is bright for cycling in Tairawhiti, with the majority of primary students in the region expected to have access to ‘Bikes in Schools’ facilities by school commencing in 2018. Bikes in Schools is a nationwide initiative to bring bikes, tracks and training to schools in order to increase fitness and cycle safety among tamariki. Furthermore, the program has been shown to increase students’ confidence, resilience and engagement at school.
Bikes in Schools first came to Gisborne when they built the regional pilot at Kaiti School, and the facilities have been a huge hit with students and whanau. Regular bike riding is now part of the curriculum at Kaiti School, and it’s so popular that it’s being used to reward good behaviour. Within three weeks of the track being opened, the school went from having 40 children who couldn’t ride a bike to zero.
After the immediate success of Kaiti’s build, planning commenced on the financing and construction of stages two and three of the regional school cycling development. Due to generous funding by Gisborne District Council, NZCT, Eastland Community Trust, Eastland and Central Community Trust and BikeOn, the CONNEXT Trust was established to oversee the delivery of 15 bikes in schools facilities in the region, over a 14-month period. Sport Gisborne Tairawhiti will project manage and deliver the tracks on behalf of the CONNEXT Trust, and the in-school cycle training will be be provided by Cycle Gisborne.
By 2018, 64% of Tairawhiti primary school students will have access to tracks, bikes and training. The following schools will have ‘Bikes in Schools’ facilities by 2018:
- Te Wharau
- Tolaga Bay
- Te Hapara
- Wainui Beach
- St. Mary’s