Bright orange is the colour of choice for more than 700 school children when they parade through central Wellington next week to celebrate the work of school road safety patrols.
â€˜Black Fridayâ€™, the 13th of June, will give way to â€˜Orange Dayâ€™ with the school patrols wearing their vivid orange safety jackets -- along with some other orange coloured clothing, face paint or zany wigs to add to the theme.
The Minister of Transport, the Hon Paul Swain, the Minister of Police, the Hon George Hawkins and school patrol road safety ambassador Ronald McDonald will send the parade on its way at 10am from Parliament Buildings. The children, from nearly 30 schools in the Tawa to Wellington area, will be escorted by police and follow a route through Lambton Quay, Willis and Mercer Streets to the Wellington Town Hall where they will be met by Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast.
The parade is being organised by Wellington Police education officers and the Wellington City Council to thank the patrols for their vital contribution to road safety, especially at pedestrian crossings outside schools. The celebration is also supported by McDonalds Family Restaurants who help police with the road safety programme in schools.
Prizes for the best decorated banner with a road safety message and for the best â€˜orangeâ€™ dressed school will be awarded at a concert following the parade.
The concert, hosted by Ronald McDonald, features The Improvisors, The Extreme Cheerleaders, Eternal Promise street dancers and some breakdancing.
Senior Constable Roly Hermans, Wellington Area Police Education Officer, says the patrols do a brilliant job in all sorts of weather.
"Being selected as a school patrol team member is a real honour and we value their contribution," he says. "Itâ€™s a big responsibility for the children but they are very capable at making the right decisions on when to stop the traffic, put the signs out and get fellow pupils safely over the crossings.
"Their job would be made easier if road users slow down when approaching schools, park away from the crossings and if both motorists and adult pedestrians obey the school patrol signs."
The first school patrol started operating in 1934. There are now more than 700 school patrols operating, 45 of them in the Wellington area.