In a tradition which now spans 45 years, on Monday Year 7 and 8 students at Kerikeri High School competed in a raft race around the historic Stone Store Basin. This year's flotilla of 25 home-built vessels were, as usual, a mixture of the functional and the decorative, though in contrast to other years – and despite extra challenges such as a king tide and a strong current – all made it to the finish line afloat and intact. As always, the new teachers entered a raft, starter's orders were issued by former deputy principal Neil Sorenson, and volunteers of Kerikeri Fire Brigade and St John Ambulance helped ensure a successful race. Photos by Peter de Graaf.

The Floating Lifejackets raft was crewed by, from left, Emma Thomson, 13, Ella Howells, 13, Amelia Eyres, 12, and Gabriel Smythe, 12. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Floating Lifejackets raft was crewed by, from left, Emma Thomson, 13, Ella Howells, 13, Amelia Eyres, 12, and Gabriel Smythe, 12. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Last year's champs, Sea U Later, third this year, possibly after they were slowed down by their tutus. From left, Jamie Doubleday, 13, Travis Rikys, 13, Locke Fielding, 13, and Matthew McNulty, 13.
Last year's champs, Sea U Later, third this year, possibly after they were slowed down by their tutus. From left, Jamie Doubleday, 13, Travis Rikys, 13, Locke Fielding, 13, and Matthew McNulty, 13.
The Clown'n Around crew, from left, Natalie Creighton, 12, Anna Davison, 13, and Chloe McCaig Browne, 13. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Clown'n Around crew, from left, Natalie Creighton, 12, Anna Davison, 13, and Chloe McCaig Browne, 13. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Fast and Furious, from left, Amber Robinson, 11, Avalon Hart, 11, Amber West, 12, and Oska Robinson, 11. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Fast and Furious, from left, Amber Robinson, 11, Avalon Hart, 11, Amber West, 12, and Oska Robinson, 11. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Deputy principal Mike Clent spells out the race rules. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Deputy principal Mike Clent spells out the race rules. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Boys in Blue, from left, Tony Munford, 13, Royston Gardner, 13, Harley Thomson, 12 and Ty Murray, 13, prepare to paddle a raft they dubbed Blue Lightning. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Boys in Blue, from left, Tony Munford, 13, Royston Gardner, 13, Harley Thomson, 12 and Ty Murray, 13, prepare to paddle a raft they dubbed Blue Lightning. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Rainbow Warriors, from left, Jess Jack, 11, Lucy Clent, 12, Taylor Le Comte, 11, and Janna Vujcich, 11. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Rainbow Warriors, from left, Jess Jack, 11, Lucy Clent, 12, Taylor Le Comte, 11, and Janna Vujcich, 11. Photo / Peter de Graaf
New teachers, from left, Jonas Kortner (science), Alex Ward (science/music), Georgina Robinson (English), Marama Baker (English) and Jerome Sanson (maths), prepare for combat. Photo / Peter de Graaf
New teachers, from left, Jonas Kortner (science), Alex Ward (science/music), Georgina Robinson (English), Marama Baker (English) and Jerome Sanson (maths), prepare for combat. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The 45th Kerikeri High School raft race gets underway with the historic backdrop of the Stone Store. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The 45th Kerikeri High School raft race gets underway with the historic backdrop of the Stone Store. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Volunteers from the Kerikeri Fire Brigade kindly made sure no one got to the finish line dry. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Volunteers from the Kerikeri Fire Brigade kindly made sure no one got to the finish line dry. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The boys of HMS The Train - or was it HMS Latrine? - won convincingly with a catamaran-style craft made with barrels, timber, bamboo and, most importantly, a skull. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The boys of HMS The Train - or was it HMS Latrine? - won convincingly with a catamaran-style craft made with barrels, timber, bamboo and, most importantly, a skull. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Boat of Life crew - from left, Poppy Oakley, 13, Zoe Ackers, 13, and Ella Parker, 12 - are all concentration as they near the finish line. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Boat of Life crew - from left, Poppy Oakley, 13, Zoe Ackers, 13, and Ella Parker, 12 - are all concentration as they near the finish line. Photo / Peter de Graaf
A raft called Unpredictable storms towards the finish line. Photo / Peter de Graaf
A raft called Unpredictable storms towards the finish line. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Unpredictable crew - from left, Emma Betts, 12, Aryana Mack, 11, Lily Morgan, 11, and Abby McNulty, 11 - make a dash for the finish. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The Unpredictable crew - from left, Emma Betts, 12, Aryana Mack, 11, Lily Morgan, 11, and Abby McNulty, 11 - make a dash for the finish. Photo / Peter de Graaf
The teachers came prepared for combat. From left, Jonas Kortner (science), Alex Ward (science/music), Marama Baker (English) and Georgina Robinson (English). Photo / Peter de Graaf
The teachers came prepared for combat. From left, Jonas Kortner (science), Alex Ward (science/music), Marama Baker (English) and Georgina Robinson (English). Photo / Peter de Graaf