A local school is inching closer to its fundraising goal of $160,000 to put a cover over its new astro-turf sports court.

Mamaku School received a grant from Lotto New Zealand for $100,000 which principal Gary Veysi said would cover most of the cost.

"Our PTA and sports committee have also generously given us $5000 each but we are still working hard to raise the rest. Our annual Mamaku Marsupial Marathon is a good fundraiser and coupled with our Twilight Gala [today], we are hoping to raise another $10,000."

Mr Veysi said upgrading the court had been in the pipeline for a number of years.

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"The court has just recently been covered with astro-turf but before that it was made of concrete and had big cracks in it. When the kids played hockey their sticks were breaking from the condition of the court.

"After the court was astro-turfed we saw a huge turn-around in the number of children wanting to get involved in school sports. Now our next step is to have the court covered, so the kids can use it year-round."

Mr Veysi said the weather in Mamaku was more extreme than central Rotorua with "scorcher days" in summer and freezing temperatures, rain and even snow in winter.

He said the Year 7 and 8 pupils had been heavily involved in the fundraising efforts for the court cover.

"The senior pupils have been writing reference letters for grants and coming up with ideas for fundraisers, so they can learn how much effort goes into getting grants and that it's not just 'free money'."

- Mamaku School's twilight gala runs from 5.30pm to 8pm tonight at 54 Tarena St.

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