Hot-air balloon flying looks best against a blue sky and that's exactly what Te Puke Primary School got last Thursday.
The school had an exciting visit from Kiwi hot-air balloon pilot and entrepreneur Andrew Parker.
He has launched a Flying High Project and Te Puke Primary is one of 32 schools throughout New Zealand to be chosen for a visit.
Thirty students and some staff members got the chance to rise up from the school playing field in the tethered balloon.
Ruby Ensor said she felt as if she was ''soaring across the sky''.
Grace Reid said she could see the layout of the school and that the flare activated occasionally to keep the balloon in the air ''was really loud''.
Samantha Emerson admitted to being a little bit scared at first but soon forgot her fear.
''We could see Grace's little sister down below and she was so small and cute,'' she said.
Ruby said she might only ever get one chance to fly in a hot-air balloon. ''You can't let it go to waste,'' she said.
Ruby was also a little bit scared.
''I was shaking, but that might have been because I was cold.''
Sasha Fullerton said she could see over Te Puke High School and back towards the town centre.
After the morning flight, Andrew went into the classroom with some of the students to give a lesson that has been developed and planned with the help of educationalists, which incorporates the New Zealand curriculum.
The Flying High Project aims to promote the importance of education, innovation and sustainability to Years 5-10 students at low-decile and rural schools around New Zealand.
Andrew is the former owner of the Hamilton-based Kiwi Balloon Company and the director and visionary behind the global Flying High For Kids (FHFK) not-for-profit project.
FHFK combined Andrew's passion for flying and desire to highlight the importance of accessible education for children around the world.
His five-year adventure began in 2014, and by 2019 he had flown his balloon at schools and events in 87 countries, many of them in developing nations.
Working with various international children's organisations such as Unicef, he reached more than 60,000 children, achieved international media coverage, and became No 1 on Lonely Planet's Epic Journeys around the World 2017.
Andrew's new Kiwi-based project follows a similar theme.
He hoped to use his hot-air balloon and educational activities as an interactive way for children to create a personal connection between careers and Steam learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), to inspire and empower them to join the next generation of sustainable innovators.
"The New Zealand Government has identified Steam subjects as being important for the future of the country and it's predicted that almost all future jobs will require some Steam knowledge," said Andrew.
"However Māori, Pasifika and rural schools, in particular, are under-represented in the uptake of Steam careers.
"Making learning more accessible and creating pathways for future job security are key to changing that dynamic, so I wanted to see how I could use my skills and experience to help.
"My career choices have been unconventional but sustainable innovation and Steam learning has really helped me.
"I've followed my childhood dream and worked hard to make it a reality so I'm hoping I can encourage others to do so too."
To help guide the project and develop a wrap-around programme to increase Steam uptake in low-decile and rural schools, Andrew formed a trust and brought in six board members to seek their expertise in Matauranga Māori, environment, education, science and finance.
"I love getting kids to think creatively about environmentally sustainable living and how they can be part of the solution.
"My research into making a hot-air balloon more sustainable starts a conversation about personal changes they can make in their everyday lives, and ends up talking about the activities they love the most and what they might like to do as a future career."