A school that teaches reading and maths by cooking has won the country's first "Young Gardener of the Year" awards.
Haumoana School, on the Hawke's Bay coast east of Hastings, grows food in its own garden and cooks it every week.
Teacher Jon Lovell said he gave the children a recipe for the coming Friday morning as reading homework every Monday.
"During the week the recipe is broken down into differing tasks and they are buddied up and it is up to them to read through their responsibilities in the kitchen with their buddy and know what they need to do and when," he said.
"Mathematics on a Thursday is working with a buddy and ensuring we multiply the recipe to ensure we have enough ingredients for the 40-50 servings we need.
"It is their responsibility to look at the recipe and determine how many times they will need to multiply it by to provide servings for all.
"I then discuss with them the ingredients we will need to purchase, and those we will harvest from the garden the following morning.
"This is an opportunity for 'real life' learning and they are so engaged in their maths during these sessions as they know the success of our kitchen session relies on the accuracy of our ordering. They are able to see the need for accuracy in a real life scenario. They love it!"
The school has won more than $2000 in gardening vouchers and products from sponsors T&G, Tui and McGregor's.
Two children from North Loburn School in rural Canterbury and one each from Dominion Rd School (Auckland), Te Huruhi School (Waiheke Island) and Cannons Creek School (Porirua) won individual "Young Gardener of the Year" awards worth $500 each.
North Loburn student Emma Walsh, 7, is a special needs student who has 4p Syndrome and very limited speech.
Her application was written by her mother, who said: "Gardening for Emma is a source of wonder, connection with others, peace, calm and pride. It allows her to find success without the challenges of speech, written language and mathematics found in the classroom."
The other North Loburn winner, John Lundy, also 7, said his proudest moments were "when I can pick my Mum roses and daffodils out of our garden for a surprise", and "when my Dad used the farm drill and planted two big rows of peas for me in a paddock".
Qwincey Mennell, 10, from Dominion Rd School, grew two apple trees from an apple core.
"I ate an apple, then I got a cup and some damp tissue. I put the seeds from the core on to this then covered the cup with Gladwrap," he said.
"I put the cup in the hot water cupboard to stay warm. Every two days I checked on my seeds and watered the tissue if it was drying out. After two weeks my mum checked and told me my seed was growing!
"I potted the seedings in some soil and looked after them, checking morning and night to see if they needed water. Soon they had grown from seedlings into saplings."
Freddie Meere, 10, from Te Huruhi School, said his proudest moment was pulling out a big root with a fork.
"It took three people to carry it to the compost pile," he said.
Maima Ieru, 10, from Cannons Creek School, said she liked finding insects in the garden.
"We have bees now and it's a leaf cutter bee," she said. "We found a weta in the dome and black beetles."