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Seat belts - Load it, lock it. It’s a no brainer

Piri ki Te Ora – a local road safety initiative took place on Saturday at Hinemaurea Marae, Hicks Bay.

Close to one hundred whānau attended the programme, driven by the Te Araroa and Hicks Bay communities, with support from Te Aroha Kanarahi Trust, Council, Tairawhiti REAP and Police.

The programme is focused on the importance of seat belt safety. Fifteen residents of the small community had been served with infringement notices within a month for not wearing their seatbelts. This number continued to grow over a four month period and action needed to be taken.

Constable Hamish Anderson said “This issue is becoming more prevalent in our small community. Last year we had eighty-four deaths across the country. This number would have been much different if they had they been wearing their seatbelts. It’s about reducing preventable deaths and serious injuries.”

Kahutia Foster, who is of Ngāti Porou but resides in Christchurch, was a crash survivor and played an important role in the programme. He shared his incredible story of survival thanks to his seatbelt. It was an event that changed his life forever.

Mr Foster features in the latest NZ Transport Agency seatbelt campaign, and reinforces the need for whānau to make better decisions.

“It only takes two seconds to buckle up. Seatbelts save lives, it is a no brainer.”

Constable Nathan Whitley delivered a captivating presentation on local crashes with photos and crash outcomes. This came after participants were exposed to an emergency crash scenario, delivered by St John.

In the lead up to the event, road safety competitions took place with winners being announced on the day.

GDC Journeys road safety educator Di Akurangi encourages every driver to make it click. “Think about your whanau every time you drive, they need you to stay alive. Whakamaua, Kia ora – Belt up. Live on.”

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