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Public relations students win national award

Monday, November 5, 2007

Public relations students win national award

A campaign created by public relations students to get more people riding bicycles has won the Cycle-Friendly Award for Best Cycling Promotion sponsored by Sport and Recreation New Zealand.

Transport Minister Annette presented the award to the Massey team at a cycling conference in Napier last Thursday for their "On Ya Bike" campaign designed for Palmerston North.

The Massey team, from the Department of Communications and Journalism, beat entries from the Auckland City Council and Sport Bay of Plenty for the stylised bicycle bell shaped trophy.

Mrs King says the students’ campaign sent an important message. “One of the most important aspects of meeting New Zealand's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to initiate behaviour changes and cement the message that leaving the car at home and instead cycling, walking or taking public transport is usually a better and realistic alternative.”

“On Ya Bike” was designed as part of last year's course work. The students were responsible for all aspects of the campaign, including research, planning and finding funding.

Public relations lecturer Kane Hopkins (pictured with the trophy) says the win is a "stunning achievement" resulting from a really solid campaign. "It is great for the team to be recognised for their hard work," Mr Hopkins says.

"The award is really a testament to some great ideas, hard work, and the ability to address the challenge as a local problem that needed local solutions. What the campaign also demonstrated was how green issues need to be dealt with locally, as national pro-cycling campaigns don’t always offer practical or relevant suggestions.”

The students’ three key messages – fitter, faster and free – highlighted that cycling is an alternative to driving. They developed eye-catching and innovative tactics to gain media attention. These included taking over a downtown car-park and installing bike stands to show that cycling is more convenient than driving, and organising a race from the Square to the Manawatu River bridge between local sportspeople and a radio station car, to show that cycling is faster than driving.

The SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) Cycle-Friendly Awards acknowledge and celebrate some of the most notable achievements that are helping to promote cycling and to create a cycle-friendly environment.

ENDS


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