Hundreds of teachers marched through Levin in support of better pay and conditions for both primary and secondary teachers on Wednesday morning.
"We are partially responsible [for this crisis] ourselves," said PPTA Manawatū rep Dave Stout to assembled teachers on Levin's Village Green.
Several hundred teachers and a few kids turned out from various schools in the district and there were even a few from further away, such as Paraparaumu Beach School.
Teachers belonging to both the PPTA and NZEI were taking part in the strike action.
"Historically we have been ripped off by successive governments who are not prepared to invest in us, in our kids and in the future of New Zealand. We are fighting here today for an education system in crisis. I haven't heard the word crisis in the last 30 years and I do not use that word lightly now.
"We took one for the team with Christchurch (earthquakes), the global financial meltdown, and we rolled over with the last pathetic pay increase," he explained.
"We are not strong enough. We need to stare this government down. We are the only ones going into bat for education. Stand tall on this one," he said.
"Today our message is stronger than ever, with 50,000 teachers and principals across primary, secondary and area schools coming together all over the country with the support of tens of thousands more parents, whānau and friends," said Horowhenua NZEI chair Lauren Shuker.
"Coming together today is a powerful way to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation and our commitment to an outcome.
"None of us want to strike, and I continue to hope that the government will listen to us and act to make offers that address our issues across all parts of the sector. That is my plea to the government today – for the good of all children please listen to teachers and principals and act quickly to address our issues.
"I love teaching but every day I feel the effects of the crisis facing education. I wish I had more time for my own children and more support to offer students with social, emotional, behavioural and learning needs," she said.
The teachers then marched a brief circuit through town from the Village Green along Oxford Street and Bath Street back to the Village Green for a closing meeting, chanting and waving placards. Many passing motorists tooting their car horns in support.