Students at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Matai have a new activity option thanks to Sport Bay of Plenty.
The school now has 15 bikes for students to ride around the school grounds or on local cycleways. A $5500 grant was topped up to $7000 by the school to allow safety gear to be bought.
The school's fitness programme, Whakapakari Tinana, has always included running, sprints, swimming and athletics.
''Last year we surveyed our tamariki to see what they would like to do and we found those who are less active would love to ride bikes on a track at kura and to utilise the local cycle tracks to ride on,'' says tumuaki (principal) Angie Wihapi.
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When a kaiako decided to plan a biking trip last year, it was discovered only three of the 60 tamariki had bikes fit to ride on the cycleway.
''They were either too small, had no brakes or broken chains, the list went on. Our whānau just don't have the means to purchase tamariki bike equipment so when we want to organise a bike ride, tamariki arrive at school with equipment that is not safe to use.''
The school's grounds are large enough to ride around and there are nearby cycleways to Paengaroa and alongside the Tauranga Eastern Link.
Angie says that while the Western Bay is generally affluent, there are pockets of deprivation and for decile 1 schools there are constant related issues it must address.
''Our kura is responsive to these challenges and is continuously exploring innovative initiatives to provide effective care and opportunities to ensure student learning is optimised.''
As well as the benefits of increased physical activity the cycling trips will give tamariki, there will also be opportunities to enjoy and appreciate the whenua and understand connections with it and their responsibility in caring for and protecting these places.
Future plans for the kura include building a cycle track around the school grounds.