Tauranga's biggest feel-good project, the Hairy Maclary sculptures, is about to go nationwide with every school and kindergarten in New Zealand to be asked to take part in 30th birthday celebrations of the beloved story book character and his pals.
Creative Tauranga, the organisation leading the $850,000 sculptural project, wants schools to organise Hairy Maclary dress-up days, or just mufti days, where half the gold coin donation will be donated to help fund the sculptures - the rest going to the school.
Although the sculptures of Hairy Maclary and eight of his sidekicks will not be in place in time for this month's international 30th birthday celebration of the story book sensation, Creative Tauranga chief executive Tracy Rudduck-Gudsell wants to at least make a big dent in the $425,000 left to be raised.
Hairy Maclary's celebrations in Tauranga will include a school holiday programme being planned for later this month by Tauranga Mainstreet, including special promotions and readings of Hairy Maclary books.
Ms Rudduck-Gudsell said the invitation to the country's schools and kindergartens would go out in time for dress-up or mufti days to be held before the term ends on July 12.
However, she expected most would plan it for the third term.
The idea for a dress up/mufti day was the result of Creative Tauranga receiving requests from a number of schools wanting to celebrate Hairy Maclary's birthday.
"A lot of the little ones will want to dress up."
She said the sculptures were for all the children of New Zealand. "We want the community to own it - it is for our children."
Ms Rudduck-Gudsell said it was also a nice opportunity for schools to get excited about the project.
"I think it is fantastic that the children will be able to see something like this."
She hopes that the money raised by the schools and kindergartens will be enough to get the project across the line.
The sculptures have all been made and enough money raised to pay the artist's commission.
She welcomed businesses entering into the spirit of the occasion and having their own special Hairy Maclary Day to help with the fundraising.