Fancy a three-bedroom house rent free in a rural paradise?

The tiny Otago community of Maniototo is rallying around to save their local school, right down to paying the rent on a family home.

Paerau School has a roll of just two pupils - the children of principal Steve Harley - after another family left the district.

The school's board of three now outnumbers the roll.

Chairwoman Erin Elworthy, a teacher who lives in the Styx area, is the mother of a pre-schooler and says the board's focus was on attracting more families into the district.

"Being an isolated country school, this happens from time to time ... the school has been there before and come back."

An offer of a year's free accommodation for a family with school-aged children was one of the ideas being promoted.

A family which took advantage of the same offer a year ago, increasing the roll by three, recently shifted away.

"The school is very much the hub of the community and you couldn't ask for a community more supportive of the school, said Elworthy.

"We're determined to keep the school viable ... It's a neat place to bring your children up in."

The closest school was at Ranfurly, a 45 minute drive away.

In the past decade the roll peaked at 17 in 2005.