NZ Walking Summit 2019 presenters - Walking to school and play

WALKING TO SCHOOL AND PLAY 20 June - see presentations at end of this page

The walk to school in the UK, with Living Streets

Jenni shared insights into how the United Kingdom have encouraged and supported children to walk to school over many years. The serious issues with air pollution and the flow on impacts to children's health have been key motivators. Some significant changes in approach have resulted and valuable lessons have been learned.

Last year, Living Streets delivered its ‘Swap the school run for a school walk’ report to the Transport Minister asking for urgent action to be taken to improve the walk to school, including a call for cars to be banned from the school gates.    

Since then, several local authorities have started trialling ‘School Streets’. For Walk to School Week this year (20-24 May 2019), the charity will launch its School Streets toolkit, to help parents take action to close their school’s street to traffic.    

“A quarter of cars on our roads at peak times are on the school run. Closing school streets to traffic and encouraging families to walk to school would have an incredibly positive impact on the air our children breathe.”   

Jenni Wiggle

Jenni WiggleJenni is Senior Director at Living Streets UK, and a Company Director for Living Streets Services. She is an experienced project manager with key expertise in schools, sustainability, health and physical activity and behaviour change. She joined Living Streets UK in 2012 and is responsible for overseeing programme delivery alongside local income and influence activity across England and Scotland.

Jenni has worked in the charity sector for 15 years, successfully delivering projects for UK and international audiences. She is a Trustee for Raheli Trust, which supports disadvantaged Tanzanian children to attend secondary school.

Jenni was named Supporting Executive of the Year at the UK Charity Times Awards 2018.


Te Ara Haepapa

He aha te mea nui o te ao – He Tangata He Tangata He Tangata! What is the most important thing? People!

Rāhera (Rachel) heads up “Te Ara Haepapa” ( Māori Road Safety Programme) within community Transport at Auckland Transport .

Rāhera is passionate about working with people and aspires to work with and alongside whanau to prioritise what is important to them and facilitate collaboration with other key stakeholders to action and effect change together.

Rāhera is an active advocate and believer in Auckland Transport’s adoption of “Vision Zero”. That no one should die or be seriously injured on our Tamaki Makaurau Roads. Every human makes mistakes but no whanau member should pay for an error in judgement with their lives.

Rahera Elisaia-Hopa, Auckland Transport

Rahera Elisais-HopaRahera is one of a team of five who engage with whanau at all levels - Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Māori Community Groups, Marae, Hapū, Iwi, Manwhenua and Matawaka. Rahera is affiliated through whanau ties to Samoa, Tainui, Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngapuhi.

She is a mum to six children- four boys and two girls (age range from 28 to 15) and two grandchildren aged 7 and 10.

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain


Safe School Street Pilot

The Auckland Transport Safe School Streets pilot commenced in 2017 working with 6 schools across the Auckland region. The Pilot has a vision of improved real and perceived safety of streets near school entrances for all road users, increased active school travel and reduced congestion on the network.  In addition to improved infrastructure and behaviour change programmes - that include a tactical urbanism approach. In addition the Pilot will produce a toolbox of solutions for these issues,  from low cost through to more complex. This presentation will take you through the process used to work with the six schools in developing their specific “toolbox” and the broader document that can be used for school related issues.

Claire Dixon, Auckland Transport

Claire Dixon is the Community transport manager and has been working in Local Government for the past 16 years on both road safety and active travel behaviour change programmes.


Walking to School as an Opportunity for Adolescents to Be Physically Active

Active transport to school is a convenient way to maintain or increase physical activity in adolescents and integrate physical activity into their everyday life. In most Western countries, walking is the most common mode of active transport to school among adolescents. This presentation will share findings about school travel from Otago-based Built Environment and Active Transport to School: BEATS Research Programme ( The BEATS Research Programme examines individual, social, environmental, and policy influences on active transport to school in adolescents. This presentation will discuss findings related to adolescents’ transport to school behaviours in urban, semi-urban and rural areas, perceptions of walking to school and associations of transport to school behaviours with adolescents’ physical activity levels. This presentation will also offer some ideas to help families to incorporate physical activity into school travel and their everyday life.

Associate Professor Sandra Mandic, Active Living Laboratory, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Multidisciplinary and multi-sector approach to physical activity and health with the links to transportation, built environment and sustainability inspire Sandy’s research. Her academic training and professional experiences span Europe, Canada, United States and New Zealand. She is the academic leader of the Active Living Laboratory, the principal investigator on the Built Environment and Active Transport to School: BEATS Study, the convener of  the Transport Research Network and a Research Affiliate of the Centre of Sustainability at the University of Otago. In 2019, Sandy led the development of active transport strategy for New Zealand (released in April 2019).


Where do children go? Implications for policy from objective research on children’s worlds

Kids’Cam is one of the first studies worldwide to objectively examine children’s environments from their perspective. For four days, 168 children from the Wellington region wore automatic cameras that took photos of their world every 7secs. They also wore GPS devices that captured their location every 5sec. Together, the children captured 1.3 million images and 2.9 million GPS points. Numerous analyses of this data have been undertaken.

In this presentation we will present key findings from Kids’Cam on 1) Where children go; 2) How they use green space; and 3) Health-related aspects of children’s outdoor environments, e.g. their exposure to junk food marketing. We will briefly explore the policy implications of our findings.

Ryan Gage is an Assistant Research Fellow at the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit at the University of Otago, Wellington. He is a member of the Kids’Cam research team with Moira Smith and Professor Louise Signal, Health Promotion Policy Research Unit, University of Otago, Wellington. His research interests include child health and health promotion, particularly in the areas of nutrition and skin cancer prevention.


Meeting children's need to play in the city

During the sixties, seventies and eighties cities had to address the threat to children's safety by rising traffic flows. Some cities, prioritising pedestrianisation and street life,  chose to limit traffic from their centres and others, including many in New Zealand, saw the rise in traffic as inevitable and put the onus on parents to protect their children from it. Since then children's roaming ranges have reduced to the extent that many ten year olds in Auckland's CBD cannot go outside without supervision. Auckland is now made up of what geographer Robin Kearns calls "oases of play spaces" that parents drive their children between. There has been work, by Kearns, and others, to improve children's mobilities -  and health - and reduce pollution by encouraging parents to drive walking school buses but there has been a neglect in focus on facilitating children's access to play spaces. Things are coming to a head as more families are living in housing that do not offer access to private yards. 

There are great amenities for children in New Zealand but if children can't get to them then this is a problem. Children need to play and challenge themselves, not just for their physical fitness but to develop their confidence in a variety of life skills from managing risk to making friends. They do this best when they are not actively supervised but help is on hand when required. They love to play, it makes them happy, gives their lives meaning and sets them up for life. In a busy urban environment then how can more play be facilitated? In this talk Alex Bonham will identify some short and longer term measures that can be taken.  

Alex Bonham is studying at the University of Auckland.


Walking School Bus

Auckland Transport recently celebrated Walking School Bus Month from 4 March – 29 March. The purpose of this month-long promotional event is to grow the WSB programme and have more primary aged school children supervised on their walk to and from school.

The Walking School Bus programme contributes to less congestion on the network at peak times, better health outcomes from physical activity and a reduction in CO2 emissions. The programme also contributes safer environments near and around school gates and improved road safety behaviours by school students. In addition, this promotion raises awareness of the benefits of the WSB to parents, children and schools.

Louise Cameron, Community Transport Coordinator, Auckland Transport

Louise Cameron is a part time community transport coordinator for the walking school bus (WSB) for the north region in Auckland. In this role, Louise is responsible for delivering, supporting and promoting the WSB programme to over 25 schools. Louise took the role at Auckland Transport as she had 5 years experience as a WSB volunteer coordinator for her own children's school. Prior to this role she worked in Human Resources and Financial Services. Louise is very passionate and enthusiastic about the success and growth of the WSB programme. Louise is a mother to 3 active boys. She enjoys running, travelling and family time.

Claudia Moreira, Community Transport Coordinator, Auckland Transport

Claudia is coordinator for the Walking School Bus for all East and South Schools. In this role she is responsible for delivering and promoting the WSB Programme to 63 schools. Prior to joining Auckland Transport, she worked in the Fitness Industry for over 14 years where she gained extensive experience in Customer Service and focused in Customer Retention. Claudia is originally from Portugal and has been living in New Zealand for nearly 13 years. She is passionate about people, fitness and an healthy lifestyle which matched perfectly with her WSB role. Her goal is to get as many kids and parents walking to school as possible! Outside the office, Claudia spends time with her 13 year old daughter and teaches Zumba Classes in her community.


Dunedin Central City Schools Cluster – A Precinct Approach to Safety

Dunedin City Council commissioned ViaStrada to develop an area-wide approach to addressing road safety and parking issues around five central city schools. By considering the whole study area as one precinct (the “Central Schools Cluster”), a series of consistent treatments can be used to reinforce to all users entering the area (especially motorists) that they need to look out for other users (especially school pupils) and behave appropriately.

The team assessed current travel patterns, safety data, and spatial information collected from school children and principals. After a joint schools workshop and further consultation with bus service operators, NZ Police, and parking enforcement officers, a short list of options was identified. Potential treatments were grouped into four area-wide strategies that incorporate various components:

- Crossing points: addressing pedestrian accessibility and safety

- Gateway thresholds: for area visibility, crossing aids, and speed management

- Parking streets: relocating and concentrating parking supply

- Speed management: area-wide part-time or permanent lower speed zone

An implementation strategy presented three possible levels of treatment for each component. Each level has different cost, timing and road safety effectiveness characteristics. This enabled some low-cost “quick win” treatments to be implemented immediately, with longer-term projects identified that require more significant expenditure and redesign to make to road environment safer for all road users.

This presentation summarises the approach taken to identify the key issues and progress to date on the proposed treatments. Many of the consultation and implementation methods used in this project could also be applied to other towns.

Hjarne Poulsen, Dunedin City Council and John Lleswyn, Viastrada

John is a former US national road cycling champion who now plans and designs streets for all transport modes, ages and abilities. John prepares master plans, business cases, and undertakes a variety of transportation research. Since 2016, John has curated the NZ Travel Planners website, collating resources for school and workplace travel planning. He is active in the Engineering NZ Transportation Group and is a keen walker and hiker.


Te Ara Mua

Physical environments can have a significant and enduring role in promoting or hindering active travel behaviours including walking for transport and recreation. Robust community-level environmental interventions are challenging to design and undertake. Te Ara Mua (translated from Te Reo Māori as “the future path shaped by the past”) Future Streets, in Māngere, Auckland is an area level randomised, controlled before and after community intervention study - the first of this kind internationally. The aim of the intervention was to make Māngere streets safer and easier for people to travel around, especially by walking or cycling. Intervention design was informed by international literature, community and mana whenua consultation findings, exploratory data collection, road safety audits, accessibility audits, participatory planning sessions, and expertise of the design team using a ‘human centred design’ approach and self-explaining roads principles. The main aspects of construction were completed in September 2016, and included a 2km walking and cycling circuit, improved footpaths, prioritised side street crossings, safe park routes, road narrowing, protected cycle lanes, cultural landscaping and wayfinding. Walking and factors hypothesised to precede changes in walking have been measured at baseline (2014) and early follow-up (2017) through community-wide face-to-face surveys and objective traffic measures. Long-term follow-up is planned for 2020. Preliminary findings will be presented, including changes in traffic speeds, neighbourhood perceptions, and walking patterns.​

Melody Smith, Associate Professor Melody Smith (nee Oliver), PhD, Co-Associate Head (Research), School of Nursing, The University of Auckland


New Zealand Road Safety Education in Schools

The road and rail safety education in schools’ programme generates resources and initiatives that help create inclusive communities around schools, so they can work together towards zero harm. Our resources encourage learners to build social competencies in the context of road and rail safety by considering their roles and responsibilities as road users. This presentation will navigate you through the material hosted on the education portal, discuss my current work programme, and highlight some goals for the future, in particular, those focused on designing ways to get students walking to school.

Pamela McConchie, Senior Education Advisor, NZTA

Pamela is responsible for road and rail safety in schools. I have been at the Agency for 15 months and before that, was a Wellington secondary school teacher of 22 years, and a passionate Geographer. I previously worked at the Wellington Division of the Cancer Society as the fundraising co-ordinator where I organised the first Daffodil Day in New Zealand. I have 3 children, a husband, and I love walking and reading. I’m really enjoying an education role out of the classroom and am excited by the opportunities and challenges of connecting with young people through road and rail safety education.


Living Streets Aotearoa Proposed plan for Walking 2 School 2020-2025


Celia Wade-Brown, National Secretary, Living Streets Aotearoa


Chloe Swarbrick, MP, Green Party spokesperson on local government, education and tertiary education, mental health, and youth.



NZ Walking Summit 2019 information on presenters and their talks.

Document Type: 

About Us

Living Streets Aotearoa is the New Zealand organisation for people on foot, promoting walking-friendly communities. We are a nationwide organisation with local branches and affiliates throughout New Zealand.

We want more people walking and enjoying public spaces be they young or old, fast or slow, whether walking, sitting, commuting, shopping, between appointments, or out on the streets for exercise, for leisure or for pleasure.

JOIN US and help with our campaigns