Road Safety Education Excellence Awards

Award winning effort to keep our kids safer on the roads

At this year’s Road Safety Education Limited’s (RSE) supporting excellence awards, the AMI Community award went to Jerry Cowper from The Rotary Club of Tauranga Te Papa.

Renee and Roger holding award together
AMI's Renee Milkop-Kerr was pleased to hand out the AMI Community Award to Rotary Club Volunteer, Roger Miller who accepted on behalf of Jerry Cowper.


In 2018, we had Maria Lovelock, NZ manager of RSE come in to speak at our Rotary Club meeting. She told us about the RYDA programme, and how it partners with teachers to helps students become responsible road citizens.

Since joining Rotary in 2006, I have been really involved in their youth programmes. Firstly, as Youth Director for the Rotary Club of Tauranga Te Papa, and then on the District Committee for International Youth Exchange, finishing my time in 2018 as District Chairman. I saw RYDA as another excellent youth programme and was excited to bring it to the Bay of Plenty.

We sent some members up to Auckland to see how the programme worked. We were very excited and motivated by what they saw and started working with the RSE team to bring it to Tauranga.

RYDA gives young adults the ability to develop their life skills and become road safety conscious in a way that resonates with them – as drivers and passengers. I believe our youth are our taonga and we all need to invest in their future to help them grow.

Maria (from RYDA)

Jerry and the Club have gone above and beyond in helping us establish ourselves in the Tauranga area. They set up meetings with schools to promote the programme and coordinated all the other Tauranga Rotary Clubs to volunteer and donate. They went along with the RSE team to meet other funders like Bay Trust and TECT, which resulted in financial support towards the local costs of the RYDA programme.

Pearl, Maria, Jess and Renee holding yellow safety message signs

The feedback from attending students is excellent and shows we are creating behaviour change and impact:

It really made me think critically about me, my individual strengths and weaknesses. I liked having to admit my flaws and make plans to work on them, especially relating to driving and keeping safe – student from Papamoa College about the I in Drive session.

We went through the process of how each crash was caused and what safety improvements could be put in place to prevent crashes like that happening in the future. This also helped me learn what rumble strips are and how they prevent drivers from dosing off ”– student from Mt Maunganui College about the Crash Investigators session.

Jerry also helped us promote RYDA throughout their vast Rotary district, from the Coromandel to Hastings, and everywhere in between. Our new contacts in areas like the Hawkes bay and Gisborne are helping to expand the programme nationwide.

Jerry comes to every event or meeting with a massive smile and a can-do attitude, which is why he and his Club are the worthy recipient of our AMI Community award 2020. Thank you Jerry and The Rotary Club of Tauranga Te Papa.