News | 1 November 2023
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All aboard! A new school bus comes to town

A walking bus departing for Berhampore School is providing an active, fun, and colourful way for tamariki to get to class every Friday.

Group of kids walking to school.

The bus first hit the pavement in September, with students and their whānau making their way through the streets of Berhampore, guided by spraypainted feet and hand-painted pou.  

One of the students, Angelo, says, “I like singing songs all the way to school." 

Ciara, another student, adds, "You have fun and you get to see your friends if they walk on the school bus.”

The school’s Enviro Group were the drivers of the project, with Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington City Council, mana whenua and Enviroschools on board.  

Spray painted hands and feet on the ground.

Wellington City Council Behaviour Change Officer Bria Cardno says this initiative has many benefits for tamariki and their community.

“Children are engaging with te taiao (the environment), being more active, socialising with their friends on their way to school, and creating healthy habits for themselves and future generations. From a parent’s view, the cost of transport is reduced, there is increased engagement with their school and local and parent community, and there are less cars outside the school gate, making it a safer place for children to be.”

“Getting more children walking instead of being driven to school aligns with Council's plans to reduce carbon emissions from transport in our city and meets our community outcomes of an inclusive, liveable and resilient city where people and communities can learn, are connected, safe and healthy.”

Walking bus sign.

Berhampore School Principal Simonne Goodall praised the project for encouraging students to make positive change.

“Our Enviro Group wanted to create change, and I’m proud it’s been led by the kids. Not only are they conscientious and creative, they’re inspired by te ao Māori and being kind to the planet,” Ms Goodall said. 

Adults and tamariki worked together to plan the route. Pou to mark the journey were designed and painted by the students, who were guided by mana whenua to tell the stories of atua (gods) Tangaroa, Tamanuiterā, Tāwhirimātea and Tane Mahuta.  

The student-led initiative will prevent an estimated 170kg of CO2 emissions each year and save the participating families around $770 in reduced driving costs. 

To explore active travel options for your school visit