From need to solution in just a few weeks - Waihi College students have made and distributed 600 masks to help locals protect themselves against Covid-19 without facing any cost.

The students are using fabrics donated throughout the year to assemble masks which are being given away free through the student centre.

Andrea Hill, Waihi College's teacher in charge of textiles, says students have quickly picked up skills in sewing and production and she's proud of their results.

"I could see people selling them and I knew some families that couldn't afford $15 a mask, so this way they can have one for nothing and at no cost to the community," says Andrea.

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Waihi College students in the production line. Photo / Alison Smith
Waihi College students in the production line. Photo / Alison Smith

"We created a production line in class when masks were starting to be promoted and so they all knew what their job was and got to work.

"In two hours they made 30 masks, so they had one each and a couple of extras. Today they're even quicker."

The nation's need for masks has presented an opportunity not for teachers and students but has also spurred on enterprising small businesses like Love Knot War in Whangamata.

Alysha Hansen modelling a mask she makes with her business Love Knot War. Photo / Supplied
Alysha Hansen modelling a mask she makes with her business Love Knot War. Photo / Supplied

Owner Alysha Hansen says the business opportunity for manufacturing masks literally walked through the door.

"We actually had a few requests from customers asking if we were making them. We're now selling quite a few online."

Alysha uses bamboo fabric for her masks and uses mostly floral patterns in her designs, which is a popular trend with her women's and children's clothing brand.