Northland mum Natalia Choat said sending her kids back to school today is the best birthday present ever.
"I'm so excited, the kids are more excited than me though," she said.
For more than a month, most Northland students have gone without seeing their friends or teachers as schools shut their doors during lockdown, and only opened at limited capacity during alert level 3.
Today, they will be reunited.
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Choat, who lives in Maromaku, said the weekend couldn't go fast enough for her three school-aged children.
"They're looking forward to being able to see their friends, talk to their teachers - basic things they took for granted before. They can not express how much they miss their friends."
Choat said she and her family live on a farm which made distance learning easier as the kids had been working on the farm and gaining life experience.
She said she believed lockdown had made her kids appreciate school more.
"They get the understanding that they're not just stuck at home and school is not easy for parents either. We're not made to be teachers, we're not qualified so for us to try and teach them is really hard.
"So for them to be able to talk to their normal teachers - they just miss it, they really miss the structure of school. They're so excited to get back to normal," she said.
Meanwhile, Whangārei mum Chadae Romley said she was relieved and excited to send the kids back to school.
"Not because having the kids at home was a bad thing, but they need to be at school as well and be around their friends burning off energy," she said.
Romley had five kids in her house during lockdown, four of them school aged.
She said they were all excited about being back at school, including 11-year-old daughter Madi and 8-year-old daughter Rinaha who go to Hora Hora School, but they were also a bit nervous.
"I told them that schools would have extra rules and that we can't drop them off before a certain time and when we do drop them off they have to go straight to their classrooms and after school they have to come out to the car because we can't go on to the school.
"They were like 'oh what? I thought lockdown was finished' and said no, we're in level 2 lockdown," she said.