School gets own bike track
The South Waikato is rapidly becoming known as a cycling destination and Tokoroa Central School is now on track with it too.
As part of the Bikes in Schools Programme, which aims to provide school children with the opportunity to ride a bike on a regular and equal basis at school, the school celebrated the opening of its very own bike track on Thursday.
Principal Debbie Follas said the track is almost 400 metres long which makes it the longest track of its kind in the North Island.
"It's been a year in the making and it's the first of three stages which is very exciting," she said.
"The next track will be a pump track, which is like a mini BMX track, and the other will be a skills track where they will go through things."
"There is one in Putaruru but this is the only one in Tokoroa so we feel very blessed," she said.
Follas said she read about the programme in 2015 and after telling the school's board and staff about the benefits they quickly came on board.
"What was exciting about this programme was the feedback from other principals, teachers, and parents who had run the programme in their schools," she said.
"They said it raised the confidence and self esteem of pupils, delivered health and wellbeing outcomes, provided the opportunity to self manage risks in a safe environment, an environmental friendly form of transport, resulted in children and extended family biking more often, and pupils gained knowledge, skills, confidence to ride safely when riding outside the school area."
"Our board and staff recognised that these were all things that we were wanting for our tamariki (children) here at Tokoroa Central School," she said.
Through various grants the school has also been able to buy 50 bikes, 100 helmets and a container to keep them all in so the children can utilise the track.
Kaumatua Homai Uerata blessed the track which he described as a positive for the school.
"This is something very special to a school," he said.
Follas said the school would like to thank all those who have helped along the way.