The number of Rotorua parents wanting their tamariki to get a full-immersion Maori education has led to overflows at some kura kaupapa.
Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o te Koutu is one of 10 schools with more students than the Ministry of Education provides for.
Ministry figures provided to the Rotorua Daily Post under the Official Information Act reveal 10 schools in the region have more students than teaching space.
Principal Uenuku Fairhall said his school roll "looks like an hourglass" as popularity has grown in junior years.
"The growth in the junior area is not always held at the senior level but I think the growth in popularity has a lot to do with the parents' aspirations: parents wanting their kids to experience different things."
According to ministry figures, Kura o te Koutu has teaching capacity for 156 and last month's roll was 224.
Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Hurungaterangi principal Oriana Lemon agreed with Fairhall, saying there had definitely been more junior enrolments.
"The [influx] is ensuring te reo Maori is continued from kohanga reo into kura kaupapa Maori. Parents are adamant that's what they want for their tamariki."
Lemon said her school's roll was at full capacity, at just under 100 students.
"We have a waiting list. A good ratio is one teacher to 18 students, which allows us to maintain a quality teaching environment, though that is the ideal and is not always achievable."
She said she saw the need to expand but that posed its own challenges, including finding qualified pouako (teachers) fluent in Maori and knowledgeable in Te Aho Matua philosophies, as wel las finding resources.
Mainstream school Rotorua Intermediate is also dealing with roll pressure and principal Garry de Thierry says a collaborative, multi-agency approach is needed to manage growth.
He said city growth could lead to more schools running at - or over - capacity, and that solutions could not wait until infrastructure and resources were stretched.
"What are we going to do to address it, as opposed to waiting until it gets here?
Schools needed to be proactive, he said.
Rotorua Intermediate had space for 660 pupils but a roll of around 720, including out-of-zone students, whom the ministry does not provide space for.
The 10 schools were in Rotorua, Whakatane and Kawerau. Some schools privately own buildings and classrooms to accommodate out-of-zone students, which they did not have to take. The ministry does not hold information on privately owned buildings.
Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ruamata did not wish to comment.
Schools over ministry-funded capacity
Apanui School, Whakatane
Murupara Area School, Whakatane
Otonga Road School, Rotorua
Rotorua Intermediate, Rotorua
Tarawera High School, Kawerau
Te Wharekura o Ruatoki, Whakatane
TKK Motuhake o Tawhiuau, Whakatane
TKKM o Ruamata, Rotorua
TKKM o Te Koutu, Rotorua
Trident High School, Whakatane
• The Ministry of Education could not provide updated school roll numbers for this story. The numbers included were full-time equivalent (FTE) figures.
- Additional reporting by Jordan Bond
For more articles from this region, go to Rotorua Daily Post