A Tauranga principal has been named a finalist for transforming a disused field into a hive of activity.
Gate Pa School principal Richard Inder has been named a finalist in the 2017 Bike to the Future Awards. Mr Inder features in the outstanding contribution to a bike-friendly future category but he insists he is only part of a much larger picture.
"It's not about me. It's about all of the many groups and people who came together for a wonderful project for this community," Mr Inder said.
About two years ago Mr Inder headed a collective effort including teachers, funding groups, Tauranga City Council and parents to transform an old sports field, only really used for cross-country, into a bike track.
With help from Higgins contractors, the bike track complete with humps and bumps spanning the perimeter of the field was created. A second track was also formed, offering more of a mountain bike experience through a lush green space at the rear of the school.
Funding from Bikes in Schools Charitable Trust ($10,000) and Tauranga Rotary ($6000) resulted in 50 new bikes kept on site for the schoolchildren to use.
Mr Inder said the children worked hard in the classroom so he tried to ensure they played hard in the playground too. And it worked, he said.
"We have happier, more active children who have the confidence for more tracks or the road," he said.
"It's part of the whole care for children. It's not just teaching them to read and write but also teaching them wellbeing and physical activity.
"If we can get a child out there and cycling with their family ... that's what it's about."
Mr Inder said other schools had shown interest in Gate Pa School's success and he was helping pass on what he had learned.
The awards were organised by the NZ Transport Agency and Cycling Action Network and will be held on October 19 in Christchurch.