Hundreds of Bay of Plenty children chanted and marched their way through Tauranga's CBD this morning for the annual Orange Day Parade.

Now in its 13th year, the event promotes safer driving on roads, especially near schools. It attracted 700 students.

"We still have a lot of problems with people speeding past schools, ignoring pedestrian crossings, driving while distracted," Zane Smith, of the police, said.

"This is a great way to recognise the practical contribution these guys make in keeping our communities safe."


Whether you walk, ride, scooter or take the bus - organisers work with schools to teach students how to be safe on the roads.

"It's encouraging children to think about their travel to and from school and ensuring that they're given the skills to travel safely to and from school," network safety and sustainability manager Martin Parkes said.

"It's providing them with not only road skills but life skills as well, to take them forward as they go through their schooling education."

There's a benefit to the older generation too, with the road-safety skills the children, learn being passed onto their parents.

"Based on my own experience with my daughter, very much so," Smith said. "Especially around making sure you've got your seatbelts on, speeding around schools... they're a really good reminder for us. And it keeps us a little bit honest."

Several members of the newly elected council took part in the march, with the deputy mayor given the ribbon-cutting honours.

"It's important because we want our kids to get to school safely and get home," Larry Baldock said.

"Walking to school, biking to school were things that we did in our generation but of course it's more complicated now because we have more traffic, higher speeds on the road... So we need to work harder to make sure children have that opportunity and can get safely to and from school."


There was plenty of fun for the kids mixed in with the more serious messages, and following the march, there was a prize-giving for the best banners.

"It was really fun. We did lots of chanting and held up our banner," said Olive Sunderland from Golden Sands School.

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