Missing safety signs — ‘someone must know’

Councillor calls for info on signs taken from local roadsides






Three of Waipawa’s road safety kids have recently gone missing, one mysteriously turning up a week later, while another is sporting a damaged ankle after being shifted off the roadside and struck by a vehicle. The innovative speed warning signs — each is a cut-out image of a local child, with a speed safety message in a speech bubble — have been on traffic patrol on Waipawa’s main road and on Harker St opposite Waipawa School since November last year, as a way to remind drivers to slow down as they pass through the town. The initiative was spearheaded by Waipawa parent and councillor Pip Burne, who started the “Hey you — slow down, Waipawa” Facebook page. Searching for ideas, she found the signs in use in other countries, but Waipawa’s project is a first for New Zealand. Pip put out a call to parents asking for children to be the faces of a road safety campaign. The children had their photos taken, then the signs were designed at nearly life-size and stands were made so they could be mounted roadside. The signs are removable. Two are cared for by the school and the others have been adopted by Waipawa businesses that bring them in each night and put them out in the morning. The original 10 signs were locally funded at a cost of about $100 each. But it’s just not the cost that’s upsetting, Pip says. “Until we can do something else to slow the traffic down through Waipawa these children are relaying an important message. “If you have any information on their whereabouts — we’d love to get them back, no questions asked. This is community trying to look after community. Someone must know something.” The damaged sign had been taken from the roadside and was found near the railway line, but two more disappeared in the past week, and one more this week. “I’m hoping it’s just kids being silly. Maybe someone’s just taken them home and a parent hasn’t realised. Most people say they work so we really want them back.”