Local MP Barbara Kuriger today welcomed members of the Piopio College Trust and their completed replica of the first New Zealand school bus to Parliament.
“It has been fantastic to be a supporter of the Piopio College school bus restoration project since its inception. I have enjoyed seeing the replica come to fruition as a result of the hard work and determination put in by the trust and the wider Piopio community,” said Barbara Kuriger.
The trust’s project acknowledges and commemorates the provision of the first school bus services in New Zealand during the 1920s. Piopio was the first district in New Zealand to have such a service. On 1 April 1924, three Model T Ford trucks were converted to school buses, which began what is now an integral part of school connection and accessibility throughout New Zealand.
“The restoration of a replica Ford Model T bus has been a significant achievement for the Piopio community. The trust has worked extremely hard to replicate the components to the specifications held on file in the National Archives to ensure it is an accurate representation of the first ever bus.
“Once the bus goes on display, it will contribute to Piopio’s tourism value and the historical tourist attraction will no doubt be a favoured stop for those travelling through State Highway 3.
“I was very pleased to see Minister Hekia Parata warmly welcome members of the trust here today, who have worked hard to make this happen. This acknowledges the important part school buses play in supporting the education of children in our rural communities,” said Kuriger.