With the New Zealand film-making competition 48Hours pushed back from its usual start date, Rotorua's animation school will be squeezing in a couple of practice runs to better prepare for the challenge.

The Rotorua branch of Animation College - with more than 800 groups from all over the country - will be given a genre, prop, line of dialogue, technical shot, and 48 hours to put together a short film on September 16.

In previous years the competition ran in April or May, but this year it was delayed for three months while organisers searched for a new sponsor.

The Rotorua school's first practice run was at the end of June. The students enjoyed the challenge and are eager to tackle it again.

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"Taking it from an idea to something to actually show? That was awesome," second-year student Celia Pirini said.

First-year student Dylan Jackson said he liked moving away from the typical solo assessments to learn how to animate in a group.

He also said that the challenge had allowed him to pick up new skills.

"I learned how to composite. I hadn't done that before," Dylan said.

Lecturer Nige Ward was happy the students were able to pick up so much so quickly during the 48 hours.

"Usually I have to do a lot of handholding through the course, but with this I wasn't able to, so they learned a lot by themselves."

In addition to the challenge in September, Rotorua's Animation College is also focused on a new year release for a free phone app focused on the Maori language.

The app will teach Maori words and their proper pronunciation.

"The plan was to start by giving it to all schoolkids," said Mr Ward, "but we would like to see tourists or even just locals use it."