Upper Hutt was abuzz with excitement yesterday morning as hundreds of children hit the streets to take part in the ‘Great School Scavenger Hunt’. In lieu of Walk2Work Day, Upper Hutt City Council organised the activity for children and parents to complete together on their walk to school.
Children at ten Upper Hutt primary schools were sent home with instruction sheets that contained five riddles. The riddles needed to be solved so that hunters could discover the locations of five letters. The five letters were hidden near the school grounds, and put together in the correct order they spelt ‘Hikoi’, which means ‘walk’ in Maori.
Over 300 students completed the scavenger hunt successfully and will now go in the draw to win a range of prizes, including family meal vouchers, dvd store vouchers and H2O Xtream passes.
Natalie Finnigan, Upper Hutt City Council’s School Travel Planner, says the event was a fun new way to encourage school pupils and their caregivers to walk.
“It’s really important for parents to be involved in getting their kids active on the way to school because research indicates that even just a few minutes of exercise before school really improves a child’s ability to learn and engage in the classroom”.
Ms Finnigan says the event was fun and she has had positive feedback from kids and parents alike.
“I’ve had some parents emailing me telling me their kids woke them up super early because they wanted to get a head start, and I also had children waiting for me last night when I was putting out clues because they were so excited they couldn’t wait until the morning.”
A number of Upper Hutt primary schools are taking part in Movin’ March and running their own active travel initiatives, and Ms Finnigan says she is thrilled the School Travel Programme in Upper Hutt has reached the point that schools are taking the initiative to run their own events.
“I feel like Council has planted the seed but now many of our schools have recognised the benefits of active travel in the wider school community and are making real efforts to change the culture around transport in the city and it’s really exciting to be able to support them in their efforts.”