Aroha Patene lets the kids lead the way on the Naenae Primary School waewae express during Movin’March. She keeps a close eye from the back, especially on the younger ones that join in along the way. By the time they reach the school gate there are about nine tamaraki as well as her two sons and nephews. “Walking to school gives our tamariki confidence. They’re out exercising, in the fresh air and we also get to cross together at two main roads. They’ve learned to make sure cars stop before stepping out on the zebra crossing and they know I’m there so it feels safe for them.”
This is Aroha’s third year of Movin’March and her whānau walk to school most of the year, unless it’s cold or wet. “We have a plan if anyone needs help which we talk about, the kids know what to do and the older ones really look out for the younger ones.” Aroha says her kids start asking about Movin’March in February and want to know when they can start stamping passports. “It just brightens up their day and we love it”.
Antoinette van Riel is Naenae Primary’s lead Movin’March teacher and says whānau walk from all directions during Movin’March and they notice a lot more walking and wheeling at their school as a result. “It just gets them really enthusiastic and the incentives really help.” There is just one more week of Movin’March but schools are encouraged to keep supporting whānau to walk or wheel beyond March to reinforce positive active travel habits for the whole school community.