From today 28 pupils from Merivale and Gate Pa schools will be able to ride their own bikes where they like.
The children have been surprised with a gift of a brand new bike and helmet thanks to New Zealand Retail Property Group and Variety – the Children's Charity, as part of Variety's Bikes for Kids programme.
The pupils, aged seven to nine, had no idea what was in store for them when they arrived at Fraser Cove Shopping Centre this morning after being told they were off to see some art, and instead discovered they were going home with a brand new BMX-style Raleigh 20 bike.
They were all nominated by their schools and community groups as children who show leadership abilities, or for their resilience under difficult circumstances. And none of them have owned a new bike of their own before.
“We want these students to have the independence and freedom that comes with riding a bike,” says Variety chief executive officer Lorraine Taylor.
“By giving the bikes as part of this presentation with NZRPG, we benefit the children here and provide an incentive for their peers to follow in their footsteps.”
The partnership between NZRPG and Variety has seen almost $75,000 invested since 2016 to help children in communities surrounding the group's shopping centres and businesses.
Part of this commitment to the community is gifting bikes to deserving kids from local schools like Merivale and Gate Pa, says NZRPG marketing and communications general manager Sara Johnson.
“As our organisation has grown, so has our commitment to our local communities, and especially to the children of the Bay of Plenty.
“Kids here today have a chance to enjoy the freedom that comes with riding a bike, and we're delighted to see them take their new wheels out for a spin.”
Each year Variety's Bikes for Kids programme provides about 450 Kiwi children with their own bike.
Geovanie Harimate, 6, enjoying his new bike.
Ashley Taylor, 8, from Merivale School trying on her new helmet.
Lilly-ann Harimate's name was the first to be called.