- Join us for live coverage of Fill the Bus Day collecting non-perishable items for the Salvation Army
- See below for stop-off points where the public can donate
2.24pm: Well team, that’s the end of our rolling coverage but certainly not the end to Fill the Bus for the day.
Thanks to everyone who collected and donated goods to help make some of our whānau’s Christmas just a wee bit merrier. Rotorua, you are the best!
Remember there are still opportunities for the public to donate at several stops around the city:
Rotorua Central Mall - 3.10pm - 3.40pm
Lynmore Junction - 4pm - 4.15pm
New World Westend 4.30pm -4.50pm
Countdown Fairy Springs 5.10pm - 5.40pm
2.14pm: “We all need food and food is happiness.”
That’s according to Otonga Road Primary School student Kiriana Le Comte Hepburn, 10.
“I’m very excited because there is the Grinch here and he looks like Pete Davidson.”
Principal Gareth Cunliffe said today was an “opportunity to give to people who don’t have as much on Christmas”.
“Our children have come to the party and tamariki have bought non-perishables, there’s a stack of stuff and we are always very grateful to help the worthy cause.”
2.05pm: Lots of love and donations from Westbrook School too. You all rock!
1.54pm: Hello Malfroy School!
The bus was welcomed to a beautiful rendition of We wish you a Merry Christmas by the students.
Seven-year-old Ngaire Teka said Christmas was her favourite time of the year and was “just about having fun and not about the presents”.
We believe you Ngaire!
Support teacher Lesley Young said today was exciting because “the Grinch is coming” and it was important to donate food so everyone could “have a lovely Christmas”.
Year 1 and 2 teacher Delyse Bell said today was important to “give back to the community” and the school had held discos to raise food donations.
1.20pm: An extra-special stop at Mokoia Intermediate School. Xavier Reuben, 12, donated 120 cans himself.
He said it was all for the “Christmas spirit”.
Meanwhile, Isabelle Walmsley, 12, ran into a familiar face - The Hits mascot Hit-opotamus, who was created from her competition-winning design earlier this year.
She said it felt awesome to win.
The Salvation Army’s Hana Seddon said the day “makes a massive difference and we’re looking forward to this afternoon”.
1.04pm: The bus is now at Rotokawa School and as usual the Grinch is the big drawcard … along with donating of course!
“We do this every year and the kids are happy to bring in what they can to help everyone out,” principal Regan Williams said.
12.44pm: Watch: The Hits presenter Paul Hickey gives a halfway update.
12.13pm: A public stop-off is next on the itinerary. Get down to Fresh Choice Te Ngae with your donations!
12pm: Lynmore School principal Hinei Taute said support for their collection had “been absolutely amazing”.
“We put it out to our whānau on all our communication channels and daily there has been food brought in,” Taute said.
”Some of the kids had to lug the donations in themselves and put in a bit of muscle power but the looks in their faces - they are so pleased.”
Taute said the school’s student council had been hard at work promoting the appeal.
”They made posters, they visited all the classes – it’s fantastic. We are so happy that our community backs us up 100 per cent.”
11.10am: Rotorua Primary School kids were hopping up and down at the entrance to their school and could barely hold back from running up to the bus.
Teacher Briar Grace said the school community were always excited to support the appeal.
”They know the drill. They know they’re contributing to whānau, some we know and some we don’t.
”It’s just a beautiful kaupapa and we’re always happy to be giving back.”
10.40am: Rotorua Home-Based Childcare service owner Zandra Harding was one of the first to email her organisation’s support for Fill The Bus 2023.
“It’s been around town for ages we just thought we’re part of the community, we utilise the community so why not give back,” Harding said.
“Whanaungatanga [kinship, connection] is big for us and having the children aware of the community they’re in is part of that.”
Kids from the centre are helping bring out loads of donations and also managing a quick peek inside our ever-filling bus. But there’s still plenty of room.
Remember our next public stop-off point is Fresh Choice Te Ngae at 12.20pm.
10.20am: Check out photos from the day so far.
9.50am: Selwyn School, you rock!
The bus was greeted with trolleys full of goodies at the gate. Mia Driver, 9, said each student had contributed two cans to the donation.
”We brought cans and put them in the office.”
Mia said the best things about school were playing with her friends and “learning new things”.
9.24am: The bus was waved down at Ngongotahā School by smiling faces excited to see the Grinch.
The Hits mascot Hit-opotamus has also got quite a few hugs on his Fill The Bus debut!
Principal Craig McFadyen said the school was “absolutely” happy with their donation.
”It’s a wonderful time of the year to celebrate and support others.
“The school community has been amazingly supportive and given a good-sized haul and the kids have a great time supporting the appeal.”
9am: The bus has rolled up to our first school visit - Kawaha Point School.
Kids came running out of Kawaha Point School with a can in each hand.
Theresa Mary Uluave-Bell, 9 said she brought a tin of tuna: ”Because I can give food to the people who need it.”
Ten-year-old Livvy Little said it’s important that everyone has food.
8.25am: Next stop is Koutu corner before we head into our school visits. The next public stop is Fresh Choice Te Ngae at 12.20pm.
8.17am: Nurse Hine Isaac saw the bus parked at New World as she was getting groceries after a night shift. She decided to stop and donate a few cans of spaghetti.
”I like to help out where I can.”
8.10am: The bus has pulled into Westend New World.
Let’s meet our driver for the day!
Anita Williams has been driving for CityRide for about a year and a half and said she was excited to find out she would be driving for the day.
”They told me yesterday and I thought, how cool. My whole family are blown away by it. The Wellington daughters rang up all excited.”
Williams said Fill the Bus was about the same things as Christmas.
”Giving and family. So I’m looking forward to seeing people give from the heart and the happiness of filling the bus up.”
7.40am: The bus is at the Redwood Centre with the next stop Westend New World before 8am.
7.36am: Today’s first donation came in just as our CityRide bus pulled into the Redwood shopping centre.
Bryn Parry said he was on his way out the door on his way to the gym when his wife Julz stopped him.
”She gave me a bag of cans and told me to give it to the bus at the shopping centre. I’m glad she did.”
7.30am: Watch: The Hits Rotorua presenter Paul Hickey introduces the day!
The biggest day of our Christmas Appeal is here- it’s The Hits Fill the Bus day in Rotorua!
Join us for live coverage while we follow a CityRide bus across Rotorua as it calls on businesses, schools and the public to donate food items to the Salvation Army Rotorua’s foodbank ahead of Christmas for The Hits Rotorua 97.5FM’s campaign.
Fill the Bus is part of the six-week Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal to help stock the foodbank’s shelves through the holidays and into 2024.
The Hits Rotorua presenter Paul Hickey will be on the bus all day from 7am until 6pm on Wednesday and presenting his radio show live from 9am to 3pm, chatting to the locals who make donations at the designated public stop-offs.
In 2022, the appeal raised $76,500 worth of donations as the soaring cost of living forced some people out of their homes and pushed others to their financial limits.
This year, the appeal hopes to raise even more, lending a hand to those turning to the foodbank for help, including people with jobs and mortgages struggling to feed their families.