As teachers across the country picketed and marched yesterday, students stood alongside them. Head girl of Auckland Girls' Grammar Isabella Van Stipriaan - Huik explains why.
Rallying on the corner of Great North Rd and Ponsonby Rd alongside my classmates and teachers this morning, with signs saying "Toot 4 Teachers" and "Support Our Teachers" wasn't a big ask.
Neither is asking for better working conditions and pay for our teachers.
Getting off the bus in the morning, I was greeted by two teachers from my school, very surprised but happy that students had come to rally with them.
This was a day where school was closed and, while many girls travel over an hour to get to school, there was no debate on whether I or many of my classmates would participate in today's mega strike.
We know our teachers are frustrated, underappreciated and unheard and we know that without industrial action, the Government will continue to disregard their pleas.
The issue matters and is so important to us as students because we spend the largest chunk of our week at school, and teachers are one of the constants in our lives.
We value and are grateful for the effort and energy our teachers put into our learning but also see that they are overworked and underpaid.
As cars drove past and tooted their horns, it was cool to see how excited the teachers would get and how their faces would light up. I could see they were really proud to be teachers but also that they wanted to be listened to.
I found myself urging people in their cars, yelling to please support our teachers. I even felt annoyed at people who just stared at us and didn't toot. I think teaching is one of the most important jobs in society as, without it, there could be no other professions.
Everyone has learnt something from a teacher and been impacted by them in some way, so why be silent about that?
The rally at the intersection and the small victory every time a car would toot, was a smaller version of what was to come in Aotea Square later that day.
As key organisers during the main rally demanded that teachers get "paid their worth", or yelled "kua tae te wa, (it's time)" everyone roared and waved their signs in agreement.
It was impossible not to get swept up in the energy of it all. When the chanting died down during the march, my classmates and I shouted "What do we want? More Teachers! When do we want it? Now!"
If our teachers felt silenced and that no one was listening to them, we wanted them to know that their students were, and that we backed them all the way.
I could not see the start of the procession nor could I see the end of it. By the time my classmates and I had reached Aotea Square, the last of the 15,000 teachers, parents and students were still where the march began, at the bottom of Queen St.
It was an overwhelming act of solidarity.
While they were striking so that teaching would be a more sustainable career, they were also marching for us, just as we were for them - a key message being "our working conditions are your children's learning conditions".
Their jobs extend beyond the classroom and doesn't stop when students leave at the end of the day.
Teachers sacrifice family time so they can coach teams and stay behind for after-school rehearsals. Teachers never eat their lunch because every lunchtime they have a student in their office trying to sort out an issue. Teachers start at 7 and leave at 6, yet still go home and plan lessons.
They must live at school and visit home.
They are our mentors, role models, coaches, counsellors, and the people who are trying to help us reach our full potential and achieve our goals.
So kua tae te wa! It is about time we stood with them - for them.