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Te Wero ia Wenerei - Tairāwhiti: Changing the way you travel, for good

Updated: Dec 19, 2023



“I think there’s massive opportunity for [...] positive transition stories to be told”


Te Wero ia Wenerei or The Wednesday Challenge is a challenge designed to encourage commuters of all kinds to forego single-occupancy vehicles in favour of more climate-friendly options ranging from walking to public transport. Starting with a focus on a single day each week, the goal is to get everyone to adopt more sustainable transport methods every day. 

 

The program originally started in Tauranga during Covid-19 lockdowns, when the founders noted the changes in street usage created an opportunity for alternative modes of transport and has been brought to the Tairāwhiti region through a collaboration between Heidi Hughes (co-founder of The Wednesday Challenge), and the Tairāwhiti Environment Centre. The pilot program for Tairāwhiti headed by Harley Dibble launched in September and saw the inclusion of eight schools across the region. 

 

With the pilot ending, the team is keen to assess the findings and engage with sponsors and potential funders for the future of Te Wero ia Wenerei, including adding businesses to the program as well as addressing the additional challenges that rural students face when choosing alternative transportation.  

 

The Wednesday Challenge offers an app for participants to record their journeys, earn points, and even go into the draw to win rewards. You can find out more about the Wednesday Challenge here.


Key Messages 

  

  • Transport infrastructure has been built around cars since the 1950s. To address the needs of alternative modes of transportation, significant work must go towards creating more public transport and environmentally friendly infrastructure. 

  • Utilising other methods of transportation has positive effects on mental and physical health, and the use of public transit over driving frees up time during your commute to do leisurely activities like reading or talking with friends. 

  • Enacting positive change requires multitudes of people. Things like increasing the number of people using public transit signals to councillors that it is worth investing money into those services. Walking with a large group makes it safer for everyone involved, as it makes drivers more aware of pedestrians. Every individual that foregoes their single-occupancy transport contributes to reducing emissions. 


Additional Resources 


  • Waka Kotahi has a list of links to public transport timetables and other resources here.


Thanks to Rāngai for recording this discussion.

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