Hutt at Heart
RIDE Holidays' Karl Woolcott with children riding the new bikes at Taita Central School.
RIDE Holidays' Karl Woolcott with children riding the new bikes at Taita Central School.

Empowering Tamariki With New Bikes

Karl Woolcott can’t remember a time when he didn’t have a bike.

In fact, he feels like his whole childhood in the Hutt Valley was spent on a bike.

“My bike was everything to me, to and from school, after school and every weekend riding around with my mates. I think every kid should be able to do that.”

That’s why his business RIDE Holidays is partnering with the Te Awakairangi (TAKA) Trust and Hutt City Council to put bikes in low-decile schools and help kids learn to ride and maintain them.

It’s one of several initiatives in Council’s Empowering Tamariki project, which aims to improve the lives of tamariki living in the North East suburbs.

“I think it’s really sad that we have a lot of kids who’ve never had a bike and don’t even know how to ride one. I’m a Hutt boy, so I’m well aware of the struggles some families have, and I saw this as an opportunity to give back.”

Karl invites his bike touring clients to donate money for bikes and then matches donations dollar for dollar. So far more than 50 brand new bikes have been donated to Randwick and Taita Central schools. Karl’s aim is to provide bikes to two schools every year. The bikes stay in the schools so that everyone can have the chance to learn to ride and maintain them.

Council’s Matt Reid says the Empowering Tamariki project aims to break the cycle of generational poverty.

“If people in high-deprivation communities do better, the city as a whole will do better. It’s a big ask, and it’ll need a lot of different people to work together. Our role as the local Council is to work with communities to provide the things and experiences that will help narrow the gap for tamariki, whether that’s having WiFi at home, having your own bike or transitioning from school to work.

“Partners and sponsors play a crucial part. Not only do they bring more resources and energy, they also bring ideas, connections, and most importantly a passion for making a difference in their own neighbourhood.”

Eight children stationary on bicycles
St Michaels bikes from Ride Holidays

Our focus for Tamariki

Empowering Tamariki focusses on narrowing the gaps for children in Lower Hutt’s North East suburbs in the areas of health and wellbeing, education and housing. That includes:

  • Working with Government and others who have a shared objective
  • Targeted delivery of core council services (libraries, literacy and physical activity programmes, art education, community-based art projects and some social services support)
  • Working in partnership with community groups, schools and whānau
  • Enlisting partners and sponsors who can bring resources and energy

To find out more visit huttcity.govt.nz/tamariki

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