Outside, the littlest children are eating their morning tea, perched high in a brightly coloured piece of play equipment called the Eagle's Nest.
Inside room 10, the students are happily tapping away on a new set of classroom netbooks.
Both these additions to Point Chevalier Primary School were provided through the fundraising efforts of the PTA.
Paul Sissons is a stay-at-home dad with a son at the school, and a daughter who'll start there next year. This is his second year on the PTA and right now he's working out the final details of next week's Indulge Food Festival. No cupcakes or fudge at this show; it's an adults-only event (read alcohol) and is a major fundraiser for the decile-eight school.
The event is into its second year, and leaves the likes of cake stalls and car washes for dead, for the sheer volume of money that can be raised this way.
"This year the PTA is doing a digital drive, with an objective to raise $45,000," he says.
A quiz night earlier this year raised enough money for 16 netbooks, and proceeds from the Indulge Food Festival will go to data projectors for classrooms.
"As parents, you've got the responsibility to go out and raise money for the kids. At Point Chev we're trying to keep up with the technology. As a family, we've got the next six odd years that our kids will benefit out of that," Mr Sissons says.
The Indulge Food Festival, which caught our eye at The Aucklander for its professional-looking event and website, will transform the school yard with fairy lights, tables along the verandas, a band and a marketplace. Ticket-holders will be able to buy wine and beer and taste-test a range of goodies. Celebrity chefs Peta Mathias and MasterChef winner Nadia Lim will give cooking demonstrations.
A core group of 10 PTA parents has been working through the year and, on the night, about 25 parent volunteers will set up and pack down. Mr Sissons says because the event is annual, time spent on organising is not arduous.
"It's about knowing what works and repeating it.
"Rather than just giving money to the school, it's about giving something back and having a bit of fun at the same time."
Principal Sandra Aitken says the money raised by the PTA is vital for the school.
"The higher decile you are, the less government funding you get, so the more community input you get, the better.
"And it pulls the community together. In fact, last year, two people moved schools after coming to the festival and seeing what the school was like."
* Indulge Food Festival, Saturday December 3 from 6.30pm-11.30pm at Point Chevalier School. Tickets are $25. See www.indulgefoodfestival.co.nz
Vanessa Reardon, Jenny Spillane and Kirsten Copley can sit with a cuppa and take a well-earned break after a hectic year of fundraising for their children's school.
In front of them on the kitchen table are copies of Our Table, a crisply printed, colourful cookbook created almost entirely by parent volunteers as a fundraiser for Maungawhau Primary School.
The almost year-long project is proving profitable for the school but the women admit they're pretty exhausted now.
"It's been a big year," says Vanessa who emphasises the core committee of seven school mothers had support from dozens of others.
"Everyone has been very giving of their time and contacts."
Kirsten, who has two children at the school, says it was a privilege to contribute positively to the school community and help raise money - $60,000 and counting - for resources. "I like to use the time that I have because I'm a stay-at-home mum. This particular project was a big one to take on but we all had faith in it and it was an honour to have this book come out of it."
Jenny says work on the book started in earnest in March.
"We appealed for recipes, didn't get any, so we ran a competition: the class with the most recipes. Suddenly, we had hundreds of them."
With the help of two others she spent weeks testing and choosing the ones for the book. Jenny prepared many of the recipes, which were then styled by Kirsten - something completely new for her. One school parent did the photography and another with a printing company provided a good deal on printing.
"We were very lucky with the generosity of school families," says Jenny. "It was a lot of people's time and, obviously, at no cost."
Vanessa sold advertising, which helped cover part of the printing cost, the remainder coming from a Pub Charity grant. That means all money from sales goes straight to the school.
In the middle of the cookbook project, the women still found time to help run the annual school fair, which this year raised $80,000.
For these women, it's as much about the children as making money for the school. They hope the cookbook will become a keepsake for school families, as it's dotted with photos of students and local landmarks.
Mangawhau School principal Deborah Cooke says for the decile 10 school of 650 children, fundraising is essential. "Our school relies on that money. We use it to top up what we get from the Government in operational funding.
"The money drops off the further up the decile ladder you get.
"So, for example, a decile 1 school with the same number of students as us will get about $400,000 extra in grants. [As decile 10] there are some categories of funding where we wouldn't get anything. But I do acknowledge that the principals in low decile schools are not likely to get the money from parents that we are able to."
Ms Cooke says the school aims to raise $80,000 every year, a lot of which goes into staffing. "So we are able to have a sports specialist at the school and a resource manager, which really takes the pressure off teachers."
Fundraising also helps with specific projects, most recently a new senior playground. "This year we're going to use some of the fair money to build a sandpit and put some decking and benches around our playground," says Ms Cooke.
And none of it could happen without parent support. "It's absolutely essential parents get involved. We really need them. They bring their skills and contacts and we really value that."
The cookbook Our Table, A Taste of Mt Eden is available for $35 through Maungawhau School office.
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From their Eastern Beach sitting room, Felicity and Barry Murray pore over the spreadsheet that's vital to their project. Last week, they sent out more than 100 registration forms and the first artist has just sent hers back.
This is the beginning of many volunteer hours as the Murrays and a handful of other Macleans College parents prepare for a weekend-long art sale next May.
Over the past seven years the Macleans College Art Sale has become a much anticipated event locally and a valuable fundraiser for the 1st XI Girls' Hockey Team.
This year, the couple's daughter, Julia, made the team so they stepped up to join the committee.
"Now we're going to be the key organisers of next year's event," says Felicity. "It's mostly advertising and contacting the artists, keeping track of registrations, managing the database. The biggest commitment is the weekend of the sale. We start on the Wednesday evening with the set-up, arranging the hall and hanging everything. Then you get to Sunday and you're exhausted and there's still the packaging, sales, clean-up, and we courier back any works that didn't sell."
The show regularly attracts around 100 artists and last year displayed 570 pieces.
The public pays a $5 entry fee and 25 per cent of each sale goes to the school.
"Last year it raised $14,000, which was enough to send 15 girls and three adults down to Gore for tournament week," says Felicity. "There's no funding from the school for students to go to the tournament."
"We've made some quite good friends through it. Most of the parents who seem to get involved have been on PTAs and the like since their children were little," says Felicity. "Because it's voluntary, of course the commitment you're willing to put in is really the key.
"We've enjoyed it and it's definitely worthwhile for the school."
Seventeen-year-old Julia is in Year 12 and hopes she'll make the 1st X1 again in 2012. She says the girls help the weekend of the sale: selling, packaging and tidying up at the end.
"There's a bit of competition to make the most sales," she says.
Next year, thanks to the art sale, the team will be able to attend tournament week in Blenheim.
About the Decile System
The decile system was introduced in 1995 and covers all state and integrated schools. Decile 1 schools are the 10 per cent with the highest proportion of students from low socio-economic communities and decile 10 schools have the lowest proportion of these students.
They are calculated from census information for households with school age children.
Upcoming school fundraisers
November 24 - Kohimarama School Christmas market, 7-9pm in the school hall. Gold coin entry
November 26 - Onehunga Primary craft and gift market will be held from 1-4pm, following the Onehunga Santa Parade. There is a polling station on site.
November 25-29 - Richmond Road School's 'Art with Love' exhibition and auction. Exhibition opens 6.30pm November 25 and the live auction starts 7pm on November 29.