School's biking initiative rewarded

By Mikaela Collins

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ON TRACK: Principal Rob Posthumus (left) with Hurupaki School students Annmary Eldo and Ellies Kim who are two of many students who have learned to ride a bike since a new cycle track opened at their school. The track has won the school a Heart Schools award from the Heart Foundation. PHOTO/JOHN STONE
ON TRACK: Principal Rob Posthumus (left) with Hurupaki School students Annmary Eldo and Ellies Kim who are two of many students who have learned to ride a bike since a new cycle track opened at their school. The track has won the school a Heart Schools award from the Heart Foundation. PHOTO/JOHN STONE

A Whangarei school's bike track has helped several students learn to cycle and has now earned the school a special award and trophy from the Heart Foundation.

Hurupaki School principal Rob Posthumus said the 500m track was opened in October as part of the Bikes in Schools Programme to promote an active lifestyle and get more children cycling so she was excited to receive a Heart Schools award from the Heart Foundation which honoured the school's efforts.

The programme also provided 50 bikes and helmets for all the children.

"Being healthy through good nutrition and staying active is a big focus of our school. We believe that eating right and being as active as possible supports us as good learners and with achieving our potential in life," she said.

The school is the first in Northland to earn the Heart Schools award and trophy, which is presented to schools who have completed an initiative to improve healthy eating or physical activity in their school community.

"The school clearly understands the importance of healthy eating and physical activity for its children. They are not just talking the talk, they are walking the walk and showing their community they are true to their values and vision," said Abi Alger, Heart Foundation health promotion coordinator.

"The school's fantastic new bike track is inspiring the children to get their legs and hearts pumping."

Nine-year-old Hurupaki School students Annmary Eldo and Ellies Kim are two of many students who have learned to ride a bike since the track opened in October last year, said Ms Posthumus.

"We particularly want to teach cycling skills and safety. We have a lot of children who have learned to ride on the school courts and moved on to the cycle track, some of them are older kids who are aged 9 and 10," she said.

The school was awarded the trophy at a special assembly held yesterday.

The Bikes in School programme was started in Hawke's Bay and is run in Northland by Bike Northland, with support from Whangarei District Council and a range of businesses.

Raurimu Ave, Ruakaka, Otaika Valley, Onerahi and Ohaeawai schools also have tracks supported by the Bikes in Schools programme, while St Francis Xavier, Kaurihohore, Waipu and Te Kopuru schools will follow soon.

- Northern Advocate

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