Wellington students hop aboard a new walking school bus

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

Berhampore kids meet at a pouThe walking bus first hit the pavement on 22 September 2023, with students and their whānau following spray-painted feet and hand-painted pou through the streets of Berhampore.

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

Regional councillor Yadana Saw said the project is a wonderful community-centred collaboration, with little people taking the lead. 

“It’s great that our tamariki are walking the talk by leading positive climate action in their community,” Cr Saw said. 

“Previous generations made their way to school on foot or bike, and with Greater Wellington’s Active Travel Action resource students can do the same while being safe and having fun.”

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

“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. 

Together, the students walk around 10km each week. In a year, that’s roughly the distance from Berhampore School to Lake Taupō.  

Pou to guide the journey

Adults and tamariki worked together to plan the 1.2km route. Pou to mark the journey were designed and painted by the students, who were guided by mana whenua representatives Mark and Dana Tumai to tell the stories of atua (gods) Tangaroa, Tamanuiterā, Tāwhirimātea and Tane Mahuta.

Prior to the first hīkoi, the school hosted a special ceremony to bless the pou. The sun shone on Tamanuiterā, the wind and a few raindrops fell on Tāwhirimātea, and a few tūī came and shared their bird song for Tāne Mahuta. 

Enviro Group members Elisa (10) and Norah (9) said they learnt more about te ao Māori from creating the pou, and their walking bus is “good for our wellbeing and the wellbeing of our planet”.

For more information about active travel at your school, contact schooltravel@gw.govt.nz.

A group of kids forming a walking school bus
A walking school bus follows footsteps painted on the ground
Teachers and students around a pou
Updated 17 January 2024 at 15:50