The streets of Ngongotahā village were buzzing and plenty of waves were shared as Ngongotahā Primary School pupils, teachers and families completed a Walk-a-thon dressed in bright colours.
The pupils were full of smiles and excited chatter as they pounded the pavement around the village for their Walk-a-thon on Wednesday morning.
The fun event was to both raise money for their school and share their gratitude for local, dedicated essential workers.
They walked around the Ngongotahā village for the Walk-a-thon, with Years 0 to 3 doing 4km and Years 4 to 6 doing about 8km.
The bright, colourful walk included big banners saying thank you to all the essential workers.
There were cheers and congratulations to each other as the pupils completed their distances.
The money raised from the Walk-a-thon sponsorships will go towards more playground equipment for the school.
Ngongotahā Primary School principal Craig McFadyen says the walk-a-thon was absolutely fantastic.
"I felt so proud to see our tamariki giving back to the community. The weather was beautiful and the children were so excited to take part.
"The vast majority of our students dressed in their brightest clothes and we were joined by dozens of helpful parents and whānau."
He says the route they took was perfect, and it was nice to see so many community members waving and clapping as they walked past their houses.
"We finished the event with a huge shared lunch.
"We have such a supportive community in Ngongotahā, it was so nice to be able to have our whānau back with us after the lockdown and the restrictions that were put into place during alert level 2 and 3.
Craig says raising money was never the priority of the walk-a-thon.
"Our kaupapa was celebrating and thanking the essential workers of Ngongotahā, encouraging physical activity and celebrating the end of an 'interesting' term with our school whānau.
"However, we received so much in sponsorship that we are able to purchase far more sporting equipment than expected."
He says the school's physical education team will meet with the student council and decide on what to spend the money on.
Possible ideas that have already been discussed include a new basket swing, an in-ground trampoline or a musical playground.
"I want to acknowledge Donna Ngatai and the PE team for the work they did organising the event and of course my amazing tamariki for representing our kura so well."