They were boisterous, passionate and bicultural - everything you might hope for in a primary school teacher.
Classroom teachers and principals alike, this lot are used to standing in front of a crowd and making a noise. They chanted and sang, waved placards and banners and handed out what seemed to be thousands of plastic sticks to bang together like cymbals.
They were passionate for children and for their younger colleagues, careful to say they were not in it for themselves.
"Hear us, Jacinda, when we say we want to give your child the opportunity to grow and develop in a public education system that cares about the individual," Papakura first-time mum Zara Jackson told the Auckland rally, her 6-month-old son Niko strapped to her chest.
She spoke movingly of how difficult it was to give each child individual attention in a class of 33 at Fairburn School in Ōtāhuhu.
"We can't find enough new teachers to come in so our class sizes have shot up," she said.
"With 33, 34 children in a class, there is not enough room, let alone time when you think about the assessment and reporting to parents."
Earlier, in a pre-rally protest at a roundabout in Blockhouse Bay, New Windsor School principal Glenn Bermingham said he was there for his younger teachers, who were leaving the profession because they couldn't live in Auckland on their salaries.
"For me personally as a principal, I'm okay with my salary, but I know we have a number of staff who are paid less than our caretaker, and that's not okay," he said.
And they were bicultural, because that is what our primary schools are these days. Their speeches ended not with the English slogan of their campaign, "It's time", but with the Māori version, "Kua tae te wā." And the Aotea Square rally ended with 7000 teachers singing Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi, loud and proud.