Tauranga gets behind the Wednesday Challenge


With over 10,000 participants now signed up to the Wednesday Challenge and businesses across the city actively participating the programme is gaining momentum and on track to reach it’s target of 20% mode shift this year.

Since March participants have logged over 80,000 journeys with businesses actively engaged with over 139 business and organization teams set up.  Craigs Investment Partners currently top the leaderboard, Tonkin + Taylor has done their own carbon calculations to see the positive effect they are having on the environment through the programme and The Kollective have run a lunchtime incentive to encourage participation. 

The Wednesday Challenge target is 30,000 participants, which is achievable if each current participant signs up two fellow colleagues, friends or family members and the last 20,000 has the potential to demonstrate transformational change. Achieving a 20% mode share will take us from the worst city in the country, at 5%, to leading the way for good.

Project Director Heidi Hughes says the uptake and active participation by businesses has been encouraging to see. “Changing behaviours takes time and needs to be led by individuals and that’s what we are seeing.  Our business sector in Tauranga really gets it and they’re leading by example, drawing their staff together to create momentum.

Some of the staff from Tonkin + Taylor who are registered to use the new Liftango carpool app

The Wednesday Challenge calls for people to travel differently in Tauranga, on a Wednesday, for the year.  Instead of jumping in a car by themselves the challenge promotes alternative modes – biking, walking, running, scootering, taking the bus or carpooling. 

Participants earn points and can win prizes for taking part.  The add on benefits of improved health and mental well-being and the environmental benefits means there’s key motivators.  Part of the challenge is the Liftango carpool app available to registered challenge businesses that enables individuals to carpool to and from work, which is a great way to build team culture and socially collaborate with others.

Vicktoria Blake, Sustainability Manager at the Bay of Plenty District Health Board says they support carpooling for various reasons, including potential improvements to emissions reduction and subsequent air quality improvements. “Further, vehicle sharing can be a great social activity after a time many of us have experienced some levels of social isolation.  The emissions from BOPDHB’s staff commute is currently estimated at almost 5,000 tCO2e each year, we are working hard to find as many solutions as possible to reduce this footprint.

Oliver Pomfrett, Sustainability Manager at Craigs Investment Partners agrees. “We’ve signed up because it’s a great opportunity for our business to contribute to a more sustainable city in a way that is really engaging for our people.

Meanwhile schools are also opting into the APP.  Tauranga Boys’ College Head of Faculty, Andrew Corney, says it makes a lot of sense for their teaching staff. “Many of our teachers live in similar parts of the city so we’ve signed up to Liftango to try and make it easier for our staff to coordinate carpooling.

Find out more here  www.wednesdaychallenge.co.nz