Building school culture is a hard thing to do but for Kaharoa School it is a simple matter of teaching character and values.
Kaharoa School has been teaching eight cornerstone values to their pupils for years, with the goal of building and preserving good behaviour and culture.
They were recognised in Wellington for their efforts, on Friday night, winning one of five school awards at the inaugural National Schools of Character Awards.
Taupo-nui-a-Tia School also won one of the five awards.
Students Harry Ewen, 10, and Leon Sharplin, 10, applied for the award by writing about their school values - which include respect, responsibility, consideration, kindness, obedience, honesty, truthfulness and compassion.
"Showing character is to keep your head up in bad situations and to do our best always. Also to treat others like you want to be treated," Harry and Leon wrote.
Awards organiser and New Zealand Foundation of Character Education chairman Rod Galloway said the school had grown a great culture for learning, which was proven in their ERO report.
"If you don't teach values and elevate them to the point of importance in the school, behaviour issues can dominate the culture of a school.
"Kaharoa and Taupo-nui-a-Tia were very good at stating if you come to this school these are the ways we want you to behave."
He said if you go to most schools they will have trophies, certificates or programmes highlighting their achievement in sports or academic work.
However, he said this award was there to help recognise culture which was sometimes neglected in schools. Kaharoa principal Warwick Moyle, whose brother Peter is principal at Taupo-nui-a-Tia, said they were pleased to be recognised for their values.
He said at the school they taught all eight cornerstone values set out by the New Zealand Foundation of Character Education. The school received a plaque and $1000.