After 16 years and 39,000 pupils, Adrienne Rickey took her final class last week teaching school children how to look after Tauranga's water supply, before she retires.
Tauranga City Council's Waterline programme is an educational service looking at how people can better look after the "three waters" – water supply, stormwater and wastewater.
For Rickey, it's the children that she'll cherish the most from the experience.
"Most of the highlights have been to do with the children's responses to the programme," she said.
"Every time I come into class, they're excited about what the homework was the night before, the responses of their parents.
"That's the main satisfying thing, that the children are getting the message and they're sharing it.
"And I get a lot of responses from the parents if they see me in the school. Many of them say 'are you the Waterline person? Goodness me, my child wouldn't keep quiet at the dinner table and they just want to talk about how precious the water is'."
Rickey has taught the programme to pupils in Tauranga and surrounding suburbs since 2005. And there's no doubt the message has been sinking in.
"I like learning about ways you could save the water, like putting a bucket in the shower when you're letting it go to hot," said Thomas, a student from Mount Maunganui.
Augustine from Pāpāmoa, tells her parents to only have five minutes in the shower, while Stellar, another pupil from Mount Maunganui, enjoys learning "about all the bugs in the stream and how much money all those pipes cost".
Over the years, the programme's key messages have remained the same.
"In the bathroom it's really just turning the tap off when they're cleaning their teeth," said Rickey. "Having short five-minute showers, not playing in the shower for ages, have a bath if they want to spend time in the warm water.
"In the toilet it's using the half-flush if you've got a dual flush toilet. We also tell the kids the old story of 'if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down'."
But after 16 years at the helm, Rickey is ready for her next adventure.
"What next for me? I'm retiring and moving to the West Coast, a farm out by Kawhia. It's very exciting… we're not really sure, we've got a caravan, a container with all our stuff in it. We're going to move out there and have a nice quiet, peaceful life away from a lot of traffic."
Rickey's departure won't signal the end of the programme, however. The baton has been passed on to new Waterline educator Sarahann du Plooy, who will continue to inspire the next generation of water ambassadors.
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