Alcohol is banned at the Port Ahuriri School Food and Music Festival this evening, but organisers say it will be "better than ever".

The Napier school hit headlines in September when it accused the Hawke's Bay District Health Board of "institutional bullying" for opposing their liquor licence and subsequently pulling their application.

The festival has been held annually for more than 10 years, and had until recent years been known as the Wine & Food Festival.

Organiser and parent Kelly Brown said they "saw the writing on the wall," as it was the fourth year in a row liquor sales at the event had been opposed by the DHB.


"We didn't want the event to suffer because of that one decision ... it made us more determined to put on an even better event."

She said despite what people may have thought, the event was "never about the alcohol".

"It has always been about putting on a great evening for our kids, their families and our community."

When the school first decided to pull its liquor licence, Brown says organisers received support from local businesses who wanted to donate their products to help achieve the school's fundraising goal.

Sodas, sparkling grape juice, fizzy drinks and juice have been provided by sponsors.

There would also be a big emphasis on food and entertainment, which includes; Tenzin Pradhan, Penelope and Liberty Fowler, Eilish Rose, The Shady Bunch and Jas and Friends.

A couple of additions to the menu - pork bao buns and Mediterranean salads - will be served up alongside the usual crowd favourites - lamb slammers, pirate prawns, tacos and curries.

Planning for the festival usually begins around mid-year, with funds raised from past festivals used for fitness stations, cricket nets, pool upgrades, sports uniforms and more.

This year, they hoped to raise upwards of $15,000 which would go towards the school pool.


Brown said the organising committee was like a well-oiled machine, with "amazing" parents and community who gave their time and resources.

A Hawke's Bay District Health Board spokeswoman said it was "delighted Port Ahuriri School is going ahead with its music festival".

They said the DHB's objection to the festival was on the basis of alcohol being served on school grounds with children present.

"The DHB continues to work closely with schools on reducing alcohol related harm, and has developed a number of resources to help them with fundraising."

The Port Ahuriri School Food and Music Festival is today, from 4.30pm to 7.30pm on the school grounds.