Helping young people become better and safer drivers has won a Whangārei man a national business award.
Founding president and member of the Whangārei City Rotary Club, Peter Smith was this week presented with the Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) award.
Gas and engineering company BOC, a Linde company, presented Smith with the award for his years of contribution to the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness programme.
BOC's Industrial New Zealand general manager Cory Spence and northern business manager Scott Harder presented Smith with the BOC RYDA Champion Award in a ceremony at the Ford Workshop in Morningside, Whangārei, on Monday.
The award commemorates Smith's contribution over the past 10 years to the driver programmes, which give senior high school students the tools they need to make good decisions from any seat in the car.
Over the past 10 years, Smith has been a huge supporter of local schools, ensuring courses happened in his community and that Rotary was involved. He once even took time out of his working day as a refrigeration engineer to deliver a car for RYDA's Speed & Stopping demonstration.
"I don't do it because of any reward but because I was once the age of these kids and remember I thought I was 10ft tall and bulletproof. If just one of them learns something and does something different which saves their lives, then it's all worth it," Smith said of his win.
"Sadly, road trauma touches us all. It's heartening to see a community come together with a common goal of saving lives through evidence-led education like RYDA."
Smith was born in Whangārei and was invited into Rotary in 2007 by the Rotary Club of Whangārei where he became projects director and then president-elect. In February 2010 he became Charter President of the Rotary Club of Whangārei City and from then on busied himself as governor, club board member, projects coordinator and youth coordinator. Smith has always actively encouraged and promoted youth programmes.
BOC became a founding partner of RSE and the RYDA programme in 2004. Through the sponsorship contribution of partners like BOC, RSE has been able to expand the programme from being an NSW initiative to venues across Australia and New Zealand.
• RYDA is a partnership that supports teachers as they provide their students with the tools and understanding they need to see themselves as active, responsible road citizens. Taking, largely, a student inquiry learning approach, RYDA becomes part of the school culture from the first to last day of a young person's high school life.
Developed by leading learning organisation, Road Safety Education Limited (RSE), the programme is designed to complement the high school curriculum.
RYDA features a highly engaging and memorable one-day workshop which front-loads students' understanding of road safety. The workshop sessions are designed to be held in small classroom-sized groups of about 25 students and are led by a team of trained facilitators including police, driving instructors and other community sector specialists.
RYDA is taught in more than 660 high schools throughout Australia and New Zealand, with an average of 40,000 students taking part every year.