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Riding For Health At Irongate School

Tamariki at Irongate School, Flaxmere are improving their health and wellbeing while learning in the community – thanks to the freedom of having two wheels under them.

Choosing to bike instead of taking the bus on a class trip is becoming part of the school culture at Irongate.

It’s part of a project the school has been working on named Ka tipu nga Kahikatea, Growing the Kahikatea tree, alongside Sport Hawke’s Bay and supported by Hawke’s Bay District Health Board and Hastings District Council.

Irongate School Principal Maurice Rehu said the school wanted to open up learning opportunities to children in the community and remove any transport barriers – all while improving the health and wellbeing of tamariki.

“I love the sense of liberation, that if a child is on a bike the whole of the community is open to them and so too are the learnings available on their doorstep. It means tamariki can bike to Te Aranga-o-Heretaunga Marare to work in the vege gardens, which create a lot of learning.”

With the help of Sport Hawke’s Bay, the school’s sports co-ordinator Riki Kara and learning coaches Colleen Ottley-Karnea and Maren Stevens have become qualified cycle instructors, giving them the ability to support active transport at the school year after year.

They see many benefits to the programme.

Ms Stevens said tamariki are increasing their hauora (health) and their wellbeing. It fills up their wairua, their spirit and it gets them out into our community, knowing our community.”

“It’s also opens up more opportunities for our tamariki. The bus can be quite expensive, but being able to bike somewhere saves us a lot of money and means we can put more money into the kids instead of the transport,” Ms Stevens said.

John Adams, Health Promoter in the Child Health Team at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board said the initiative really encouraged tamariki to get active and move around at school more.

“We’ve got kids developing cycling skills, road confidence and healthy habits. They’ll grow up to be regular day-to-day cyclists – that’s got to be good for us all!”

Sport Hawke’s Bay Cycling Development Officer Fran Rose said the learning coaches own involvement with cycling has the ability to inspire other adults in the community to try something new.

“When we held cycle skills training with Kimi Ora Community School staff from both schools were motivated by each other’s determination and success,” she said.

“This programme has also given the learning coaches the confidence to step forward and become community leaders in their own right and has paved the way for longer lasting community change.”

To watch the video about Ka tipu nga Kahikatea click below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5UQSXgLDHQ&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1CNgwn-PRvJ2xpz3ZuDfwxQl_cahboEfRKiaY9UTi309q2hVBVw1VjhfI

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