By Jake Beleski
Wairarapa may have claimed back the Guinness World Record haka for New Zealand on Wednesday, but only due to some incredible work behind the scenes.
And a big part of that involved Tranzit Coachlines, which supplied over half its fleet to get the students to and from Trust House Memorial Park in Masterton.
Manager for Tranzit Wairarapa, Les Cockeram, was unsure exactly how many students they had transported over the course of the day.
“We were ready to transport around 4900 students, but it ended up being slightly less than that on the day,” he said.
“There were 60 vehicles and drivers involved.”
Tranzit provided the service at no charge to the schools, with the aim of making the occasion accessible to as many people as possible.
“We’ve always been supporters of the community-type things, especially with the rural schools.
“It made it much easier for the organising team to take away the barrier of schools saying they couldn’t attend because of the cost.”
Committing so many resources to one event had not disrupted their other services, he said.
“Getting the students there was easy – getting them out, because of the restricted access, was always going to be an issue.”
A plan had been devised to make sure the students would get back to school on time, Mr Cockeram said.
“Effectively what we did was bring country schools in first, then those vehicles went and did Masterton schools.
“At the end of the day it was reversed – I don’t think we could have done it any quicker.”
Event co-ordinator Trudy Sears, schools liaison at Wairarapa REAP, said it had been an emotional experience to see their vision come together.
“It was very emotional and we were very proud – we had been planning since October or November last year and to see all the children out there was great.
“We had a bit of funding from Masterton District Council, and we did have some support in other ways from local businesses which was fantastic.
“In terms of big support, Tranzit was amazing to do that.”