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Kiwi kids go ‘feet first’ on Walk to School Day


4 March 2008

Kiwi kids go ‘feet first’ on Walk to School Day

Over 140,000 primary school children from 440 schools across New Zealand will hit the footpaths tomorrow and head to class ‘feet first’ on Walk to School Day (Wednesday 5 March).

Walk to School Day is a highlight Feet First Walk to School Week, an annual event led by Land Transport NZ which aims to boost the number of children walking to and from school by promoting the benefits of making the trip on foot.

The proportion of New Zealand children being driven to school each day has jumped from 31 percent in 1990 to more than 50 percent now. Land Transport NZ Chief Executive Wayne Donnelly says Feet First Walk to School Week aims to promote the benefits of walking and increase the number of children getting to school under their own steam.

“Getting children out of cars and onto their feet will improve fitness and health, increase social interaction with other children, reduce the amount of money spent on petrol, relieve congestion at the school gate, and help to cut our energy use and vehicle emissions. We’re committed to promoting sustainable and safe land transport for life, and this is a great way for children to learn good habits early on.”

Land Transport NZ is encouraging children throughout New Zealand to walk to school with friends or caregivers, or as part of a walking school bus, not only next week but throughout the year. Mr Donnelly also urged motorists to slow down and take extra care whenever driving around school areas.

Schools taking part in Feet First Walk to School Week will be vying for prizes of Sanitarium school breakfasts and free sports gear from AMI Insurance for those with the most participating students. Sponsors Geared New Zealand will also provide high-visibility waterproof jackets as spot prizes.

To keep the focus on walking to school after the week’s events have finished, prizes are also on offer for classes with the highest rates of participation in ‘Walking Wednesdays’ during the first term.


Visit www.feetfirst.govt.nz for further information, including a full list of participating schools.

Editors’ note:

Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Hon Helen Clark will join students and teachers walking to Edendale School in Auckland from 8:30am on Friday 7 March.

Green Party – Co-Leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons will join students and teachers
walking to Wadestown School in Wellington from 8:30am on Wednesday 5 March.

Suzy Cato and Bryan & Bobby will join students and teachers walking to Browns Bay School in Auckland from 8:30am on Wednesday 5 March. www.suzy.co.nz and www.bryanandbobby.co.nz

Sportswoman April Iremia will join students and teachers walking to Bayfield Primary School in Auckland from 8:30am on Wednesday 5 March.

Sportswoman Bernice Mene will join students and teachers walking to Waterview Primary in Auckland from 8:30am on Wednesday 5 March.

Hon Anand Satyanand the Governor-General of New Zealand will join students and teachers walking to St Francis School, Pt Chevelier in Auckland from 8:30am on Friday 7 March.

ENDS

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