While a machine broke during a Whangarei school's 24 hour row for charity the students and staff remained in one piece raising about $15,000 for the Starship Foundation.

Whangarei Intermediate School students and staff spent Friday and Saturday rowing, on machines, for 24 hours to raise money for the Starship Foundation.

The school's sports and environmental co-ordinator, Tom Peyton, said while one of the three rowing machines they were using did break, it did not stop anyone from taking part in the challenge.

"The students went really hard at the beginning and got really tired around the 3am to 6am mark. The kids were really pumped and at the end they wanted to go home and sleep," he said.

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Mr Peyton said the charity was selected by the students but there was also a staff member who has had to rely on Starship a great deal. The students taking part had been training twice, or more, a week for an hour at a time since July.

"It was really cool we had heaps of people come in from the community - Northland Rugby Union, police, parents, families who had students coming to the school next year. It was really good," he said.

There were two student teams, about six girls and four boys in each, and a staff team of six taking part but when one machine broke the staff joined the student teams.

Mr Peyton said throughout the day each person rowed for five minutes before another person jumped on the rowing machine but in the last hour each rower did two minutes. The students and staff rowed 620km and completed more than 100,000 strokes.

"We'll be doing it again next year," he said.

Staff from New World Regent and members of the Northland Rugby Union headed along during the day to join in and help the students out.