News | 13 September 2023
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School patrols get the show on the road this Friday

Over a thousand school students and supporters (and a couple of zebras) will be decked out in orange for a parade through the city on Friday to celebrate the value of school road patrols.

Orange Day Parade 2017 outside Parliament

The parade will go from Civic Square Te Ngākau along Willis Street and Lambton Quay to Parliament Grounds where they’ll be welcomed by Wellington City’s Mayor Tory Whanau for an awards ceremony. 

“Aotearoa is unique in that it is one of the few countries where students provide road patrol duties, and we’re proud to have been celebrating this event in Wellington for over 20 years,” says Mayor Whanau.

“This is a great opportunity to thank all these students for their amazing mahi in all of Wellington’s weather, keeping their fellow students and communities safe on our roads. 

“I did road patrol when I was at school and so I know how much of a responsibility it is, but it can also be fun and rewarding, and the milo at the end of a cold morning on patrol was always welcome.”

This year, schools will be competing for prizes for best banners, best presence in the parade, and the hotly contested best school patrol.

We asked students at Kilbirnie School what they like about the Road Patrol Parade, here’s what they said:

To celebrate road patrol and respect people, also make it safer to cross the road.
Celebrating the work we have done to keep people safe.
Anticipation that we might win the banner competition.
It makes me proud to celebrate road patrol and remember smiles when people cross.
Showing off our school banner because we worked hard on it.
Celebrating the responsibility we have had.
To think about the privilege of road patrol.
To celebrate how we have helped others.
To embrace the road patrol community and make people know the rules.
Being able to celebrate our work and accomplishments.
Seeing all the other schools with their banners and getting to celebrate road patrol.

And some of their highlights about doing road patrol this year:

Milo after road patrol because it is warm and comforting to drink. 
Keeping people safe and I feel good about that.
Seeing little kids across the road and them saying “Hi”.
Talking to the teacher in the morning.
Doing road patrol with my friends.
Knowing people will be safe.
Knowing kids and families going to and from school trust us with getting safely across the road.
The responsibility.
People thanking us for keeping them safe.

Deputy Principal of Kilbirnie School Peter Dobson says the students’ comments reflect his thoughts as well.

“This event is all about highlighting the importance of road patrols – which includes safely crossing the road, being responsible and at school on time for your session. It also allows me to catch up with parents and students coming into school, and it’s also a great time to chat to students on road patrol and catch up with what is going on.”

A rolling road closure will be provided by the Police from 10am – 10.45am as the students walk from Civic Square Te Ngākau to Parliament Grounds. Road users are asked to follow their instructions and expect some delays along the parade route.

The Road Patrol Parade is a joint collaboration between the Wellington City Council and The NZ Police.

Some stats:

Wellington has about 50 schools that use road patrol in Wellington City. They are all trained by Constable Aaron Dann, who has already started training students for 2024 at some schools. 
According to the 2018 census, nationally about 20 percent of students walk to school.
However, in Wellington, about 36 percent of students walk to school, with another 10 percent skating or scooting.