Journal story inspires walking school bus Journey

Don’t miss the bus!

Nine empowered students Evie, Aarav, DJ, Scarlett, Georgia, Ruby, Austin, Harsharli and Luna launched a walking school bus for Miramar Central School in April. At the launch party they expressed gratitude for the support from adults that turned an idea that they found in a book as a reading group last year, into a reality.

“Thank you, Ms Burke! Ms Burke was my teacher in year 4. On behalf of the group I think we owe her a huge thanks. Thank you soo much for choosing that book for reading last year! If you hadn’t chosen the book none of this would have happened and this would just be a normal school day. None of this would have happened without you Thank you again!” – Georgia

Don’t Miss the Bus” by Phillipa Werry, published in a 2006 School Journal, recounts another school setting up a walking school bus, covering both facts and opinions about walking school buses.

“It’s a safe way to get to school. Everyone will be more fit and have more energy when they go into the classroom” – Luna

Mapping and planning the proposal to the BoT.

Sharing the idea with others

After engaging with the journal story, the students from Miramar were prompted to write to their Board of Trustees to suggest that their school could do the same thing. The letter clearly shows their comprehension of the story, the ability to analyse it and then respond to it critically in a personal and practical way.


“It won’t pollute the air and you can make new friends…we can make the environment better… bond with natural wildlife …we would have a better tomorrow…and kids can see the wonders of the environment”. – excerpt from the proposal to the board of trustees

Design stage

With an endorsement from the Board, the Enviro Lead kaiako Kim Meredith supported the students with activities and actions to map the route and check that it was fit for purpose.

“Kim helped us come up with the route and took us on walkability checks. She has supported us and helped organize it. Kim shows great interest in the “bus”. She has helped us by introducing us to Chloe, Riley and Melody. Kim is partly responsible for where the walking school bus is at. She has helped us get success in the success criteria. Without her help none of this would have happened. I thank you massively you are the reason the bus has come this far. We thank you, ngā mihi Kim” – Luna

The BoT, staff and students deciding on the southern route

An exciting opportunity arose when mapping potential routes in Te Motu Kairangi. Students noticed the street sign names including Ira street – referencing Ngāti Ira and their historic pā site Kakariki-Hutia pā. Enviroschools were also able to inform the community through mapping that Maupuia awa is now culverted underneath the school field, a stream that native banded kōkopu use to travel between the moana and Maupuia reserve.

“I want to have a walking school bus to connect our community” – Georgia

Whānau support

It was important to hear from whānau to ensure the route would be accessible, useful and meet the purposes the students originally started the project for including. The amount of community support for this project was evident through responses to the whānau survey that was sent out to decide on the route.

“We just think this is SUCH an awesome initiative. My only suggestions are to not give up! We hope you get lots of parents responding to this survey, and if you don’t, please keep asking, send home paper surveys with students, ask the younger students, get everyone talking. This is worth it and has so many benefits for entire community! Imagine if we could do these walking buses and get a Play Street to trial through Waka Kotahi too??! We can reshape our world. Kia kaha!” – parent response in survey

The students organised and facilitated an evening community hui to engage whānau with the initiative. They were excited by the high turn-out in support of the students. It was encouraging how many parents signed up to be ‘drivers’ and offered solutions to any barriers or safety concerns that might arise. A request from parents was to have an evaluation in 6 months’ time, another example of the Enviroschools kaupapa, reflecting and measuring change.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea! At the moment, I am not comfortable with my child walking to school, more due to the traffic, but if he was with a group, I would feel really happy about him doing it, for exercise and to increase confidence walking.” – parent response

Launching the Walking School Bus

At the launch event, Enviroschools, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council staff were also thanked for their role in the Walking School Bus becoming a success for students.

“On behalf of the whole group I would just like to say a huge thank you to Chloe. She has helped us the WHOLE way through and helped us write letters, get them to the board of trustees, plan it, make the bus stops and organize this whole opening party. Thanks again Chloe.” – Ruby

Students arrive for their first Walking School Bus hikoi.

Celebrating the mahi and acknowledging those that had been involved.








“Thank you, Melody, for taking the walking school bus for spray painting our path of the walking school bus route. Thank you also for giving us important information for us to succeed in doing the walking school bus. We are almost finished doing the walking school bus and would not have made I this far without you because you gave us important information and spray paint we would not have made it this far. So thank you very much from us all.” –  Harshali

Principal, Jackie Sutherland is thanked for her support.

“Thank you, Riley!! I mean it so, so, so, so, so, so, so, much. Thank you for bringing stencils so we can spray paint the footpath in shape of footprints. Otherwise it would just be blobs on the footpath. Also thank you for putting the signs up. Your help has been amazing!!” – Scarlett