Former All Black captain Richie McCaw was greeted by a wave of red, white and black yesterday morning when hundreds of Fairfield School pupils dressed in school colours appeared to see him arrive by helicopter.

Mr McCaw, who was travelling to the school as part of the Fonterra Milk for Schools initiative, was greeted by cheers from more than 400 assembled pupils as he disembarked about 10am.

Fairfield School is one of five primary schools around the country to be selected for ''Richie's Milk Run''.

Principal Greg Lees said the school had received nominations from the community, and the pupils were ''very excited'' to meet the Fonterra ambassador.

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''They've been excited since they've been told.''

Richie McCaw is surrounded by Fairfield School pupils on his flying visit to the school yesterday morning. Photo / Gerard O'Brien
Richie McCaw is surrounded by Fairfield School pupils on his flying visit to the school yesterday morning. Photo / Gerard O'Brien

Mr Lees said one of the most supportive nominations was from Dunedin woman Lea Jones, who was impressed by the way Fairfield School had rallied around her family when her young daughter Hannah was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in late 2016.

Within hours of Hannah travelling to Christchurch for treatment, Fairfield School was fundraising for her, Mrs Jones said.

Mrs Jones said Hannah was ''absolutely stoked'' to be one of the pupils chosen to meet Mr McCaw after he stepped off the helicopter.

After being greeted by a haka, Mr McCaw delivered a speech to school children in which he discussed Fairfield School's values, responsibility, respect and resilience.

Parents, family members and farmers who supported Fonterra's programme also listened to his talk in the school hall.

Later in the morning, games were held for the pupils.

Three other winning schools have been in the North Island. Brightwater School in the Tasman region has also been selected and is still to receive a visit.