Waipawa School's Room 3 was full of film stars and award-winning production crew last week after winning second place in the Fair Go Kids Ad Awards.

The winners were announced on TVNZ last week on Fair Go's last episode of the year.

Room 3 teacher John Davidson - Mr D - says most of the students watched the episode on the Monday evening and the class was buzzing about the win.

"So we watched it again in class on Tuesday so all the kids got to enjoy the thrill."


The idea to enter had come this year when the class was studying turangawaewae - "you are who you are because of where you stand."

They were looking at what makes Waipawa special, when Fair Go announced that this year's Kids Ad Awards would be asking school kids to sell their special slice of New Zealand in tourism ads.

"The rest is history," says Mr D.

"I showed the class Fair Go's video requesting entries and they thought it was a great idea."

The students brainstormed ideas, chose what they believed was special to them, planned and story-boarded the ideas. They chose lead actors by vote and when they filmed the ads - they made two - all 26 trooped into Waipawa to be involved.

The script was a game of hide and seek, where lead actor Malachy Baker "found" his classmates enjoying Waipawa places and activities.

"Everyone had input into the process," says Mr D. "We have a great relationship with the community and everyone had fun."

The best part, says Malachy, was filming in a local cafe.


"It took five takes to film 'found you having a coffee'. It was terrifying because I'd never done it before and I was afraid I was going to muck it up."

Malachy did just fine, but during processing the voice and action wouldn't synch properly, so the voice-over had to be re-recorded - just as Malachy was off school sick.

"Noah Waite stepped up and did the voice-over," says Mr D, "So we have Malachy as the face of the ad and Noah as the voice.

"We try to get real life experiences into the children's learning and this project, while fun, also taught them a lot about teamwork and communication. They learned conflict resolution, because they didn't always agree, and it involved a lot of reading, writing and planning."

Principal Paul Jamieson says the kids were proud to show Waipawa off, and making the ad gave purpose to what they were learning in class "and that's what we're all about".

While the buzz of the win was still in the air last week, the actors were getting a bit of recognition and one or two were toying with a career in film, their teacher says they mostly stayed grounded.

"They're a good bunch of kids, enthusiastic and eager to learn."

The second-place prize was $500 and a Canon digital video camera - handy because several classes are now keen to enter next year's awards.