A Hawke's Bay school that creates its curriculum using the Māori community around it has been awarded the supreme prize at the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards.
Frimley Primary School principal Tim White said he was "ecstatic" with the win, one of three picked up by Hawke's Bay schools on Monday for their outstanding work to support tamariki and rangatahi to succeed.
Frimley Primary School took out the top prize, the Prime Minister's Supreme Award and Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award.
Henry Hill School won excellence in Wellbeing Education, while Hastings Girls' High took home an award in the leading education category.
Frimley's award celebrates the most outstanding entry received overall, winning for their place-based learning to connect students with iwi.
Through this, Frimley delivered professional development for teachers, weekly te reo Māori classes and local waiata.
White said Frimley's "place-based curriculum draws from the wealth of knowledge, of mātauranga Māori, from our local area, using it "to springboard off all learning across the curriculum".
As part of the place-based curriculum, Frimley students have been learning the stories of historical Hawke's Bay figure, Kahungunu, a hard-working and influential Māori leader.
White said his student learn a lot about the actions of Kahungunu the man, and get a chance to visit local areas that appeared in several stories.
"Learning about Kahungunu's characteristics as a leader helps children understand what it means to be a leader and how they themselves can become leaders."
White said, "We felt really privileged to be a finalist and when we saw what other schools were doing, we were holding our bated breath hoping, and we were ecstatic and couldn't believe we won".
The awards judges said: "There was an overall sense of community at Frimley Primary School and teachers were united about the kaupapa in learning and enhancing students' skills in te reo."
Henry Hill School's trauma-informed approach won them the Excellence in Wellbeing Education award.
At Henry Hill, the day begins with yoga and karakia, led by students, calming the mind and connecting with learning.
Henry Hill School principal Jase Williams said daily yoga was implemented as a way "to make sure there was a more equitable start for every kid, we can't control what happens outside the gates but we do have a big say in what happens inside the gates."
Regular "brain breaks" help to refocus tamariki, while a sensory garden forms a relaxing zone of textures and sounds, grounding students in the natural world.
The awards judges said, "The overall emphasis for Henry Hill School was about how to make the school calm, through regulated wellbeing practices."
"Students are encouraged to self-regulate and self-manage - which has helped to mitigate the long-lasting effects of trauma for the children."
Hastings Girls' High School won for its transformative leadership that developed high trust relationships with Māori and Pacific communities.
It has valued student voice, involved students in its decision-making process and is now embracing its cultural identity in the new school uniform.
The awards judges said, "Hastings Girls' High School saw transformational leadership establish a warm and supportive school environment that embraces diversity.
"The school believes leadership is about leading at all levels, with student voice informing leadership roles" and "whānau voice also contributed to a good partnership between home and school - creating tailored opportunities for each girl".
The category winners will receive a $20,000 financial prize and opportunities to promote literacy.
For winning the Supreme Award, Frimley Primary School will receive an additional prize package that includes a $30,000 financial award.
Tukituki MP Anna Lorck said, "It was an outstanding achievement to see local schools influencing and achieving high standards when it came to cultural identity, health, wellbeing and Tikanga Māori."