Waikato Regional Council's road safety mascot Ruben the Bear stars in a new matariki-themed book aimed at making children safer on the region's roads.
Launched in Ngāruawāhia recently, Ruben's Matariki Adventure incorporates the Māori New Year with important road safety messages and has been published in both English and te reo Māori.
The English version was specially written by Waikato Regional Council's transport projects administrator Jenny Davis, with the te reo Māori version penned by notable author Tom Roa.
Jenny says the book will be rolled out over the coming months as Ruben delivers his road safety programme to classrooms around the Waikato region.
“With Matariki just around the corner, this book is going to appeal to lots of young people who are learning what it's all about – taking care of each other, which is important on our roads too.”
Ruben is the mascot for the council's young road user safety programme and teaches children aged up to about seven years old how to be safe on and around our roads.
The programme, supported by NZ Police and the NZ Transport Agency, saw Ruben deliver 383 road safety lessons to almost 20,000 pupils throughout the Waikato last year.
During the launch in Ngāruawāhia, Ruben covered several important road safety messages:
• Be bright, dress bright: When out and about, wear bright clothing so other road users can easily see you.
• Seat yourself right, buckle in tight: Buckle into a correctly sized car seat on every trip in a vehicle.
• Stop, look, listen and link: Before crossing the road stop back from the curb, look and listen for vehicles and bikes, link hands with a safe person and walk quickly across the road, still looking as you go.
• Look out for sneaky driveways: When you are walking on the footpath, remember to ‘stop, look, listen and link' at each driveway, just like when you are crossing the road.
• Helmet on right and tight: Wear a correctly fitting helmet every time you ride your bike or scooter.
For more key safety messages, activities for children, plus helpful links and information for teachers, parents and caregivers visit Ruben the Road Safety Bear's website at: www.ruben.govt.nz