A parents' protest has saved five historic pōhutukawa trees that had been planned to be axed at Auckland's Campbells Bay School.
The school's board of trustees says the Ministry of Education has agreed to move a planned new classroom block 4.5 metres further back from Aberdeen Rd to leave the pōhutukawa intact.
Almost 5000 people signed a petition asking the ministry to spare the trees, which were planted in 1951.
Save Campbells Bay School Trees spokesperson Jenny Chamberlain said the action group hoped their success "sets a precedent and encourages MOE to embed environmental principles and actions into future design processes".
"Trees should be considered as an integral part of our children's learning environment," she said. "We need to follow through on the powerful environmental teachings students are receiving."
A post on the group's Facebook page said the campaigners were "blown away by the way our community has rallied to save these precious monuments and taonga of Campbells Bay School".
Parents responded with delight.
"Wow amazing! Thank you so much. Makes me feel proud to be part of such an awesome neighbourhood," one wrote.
Another posted: "Amazing result! The power of the community voice in action. Thank you to everyone who did more than we will ever know to save these silent giants which bring such joy to generation after generation."
Auckland councillor Chris Darby said: "This very good result is testament to the amazing commitment of a community that rallied to stand and protect some mighty trees. Hats off to those that led this work, stayed constructive, proposed alternatives, embraced the school community along the way and were instrumental in showing and convincing the MoE that there was another way."
The ministry originally planned a 14-classroom block on the site of the pōhutukawa to accommodate population growth which has seen the school roll jump by 50 per cent in the past decade to become the country's second-biggest state primary school.
But a petition organiser Guy Davies, who has three children at the school, said last year that the pōhutukawa were part of the children's identity and formed the school's logo.
"The children are going to school every day with a pōhutukawa on their chest, by their heart. There is a really emotional meaning there, the kids identify with it," he said.
Board of trustees chair Jen Hanton said at the time that there were "no feasible options" for placing the new block anywhere else on the school site.
But the board has now told parents: "After conducting an air excavation of the roots and receiving updated specialist advice, and following consultation with us, the project architects and an arborist, the ministry has developed a revised option that will allow us to keep the five pōhutukawa trees and the Norfolk pine on the boundary.
"We are pleased to advise the ministry has now finalised this modified design that they believe will provide the outdoor learning and recreation spaces we need (albeit slightly reduced) while also keeping the trees."
Construction of the new building had been due to start this month. It will now start in April or May and is due to be completed in mid to late next year.