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New matariki-themed book aims to improve safety of kids

Jenny Davis and Ruben the Road Safety Bear at the book launch in Ngāruawāhia.Ruben the Road Safety Bear stars in a matariki-themed new book just launched by Waikato Regional Council.

Ruben’s Matariki Adventure incorporates Māori new year into a story aimed at making children safer on Waikato roads.

The English version of the book was specially written by Jenny Davis, the council’s transport projects administrator, with a te reo Māori version penned by notable author Tom Roa.

Ruben’s Matariki Adventure was launched in Ngāruawāhia last Friday (28 April) at an event attended by local children eager to hear the new story. The book will be rolled out over the coming months as Ruben delivers his road safety programme to classrooms around the Waikato region. 

Jenny Davis said: “It’s exciting to see children listening so intently as we read to them this new story in Ruben’s road safety series.

“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,” Ms Davis said.

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 Ruben covered the following 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.

Ruben’s website (www.ruben.govt.nz (external link) ) features his key safety messages, activities for children, as well as helpful links and information for teachers, parents and caregivers.

The image shows Jenny Davis, Transport Project Administrator, and Ruben the Road Safety Bear at the book launch in Ngāruawāhia.

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