Close to 900 Rotorua kids will be keeping toasty warm this winter thanks to a mammoth donation from a local bank.

ASB Bank has teamed up with KidsCan New Zealand to gift 5000 top-quality raincoats to children around the country, 895 of which will go to Rotorua schools.

Rotorua Primary School, Kaitao Intermediate School and Ngongotahā School were set to benefit, with more schools yet to be confirmed.

Pupils at Rotorua Primary this week found out they would each be getting a free black rainjacket and black covered shoes from KidsCan at the start of next term.


Squeals, claps and even the odd dance move came in response.

"This donation will make all the difference for some of these kids ... it is absolutely essential in this winter climate," Rotorua Primary School principal Fred Whata said.

He said when a child "dressed and looked like a million bucks", they would act that way in the classroom.

The warm jackets and shoes would drop the number of kids staying home from school with runny noses, as well as being more alert in the classroom, he said.

"We are so grateful for this and all the work they do with us."

He said some of the school's more vulnerable families would be so appreciative.

Pupils Te Tira Tapsell and Taine Acton had both received their jackets a little early and were thrilled with how they looked and felt.

Rotorua Primary School principal Fred Whata. Photo / File
Rotorua Primary School principal Fred Whata. Photo / File

Te Tira said it wasn't easy for children to learn or maintain concentration when they were cold and the new jackets would make a difference.


"They are really, really warm too," Taine said with a smile.

Local Kiwi companies Profile and Adventure Outfitters had made the jackets, which were rainproof and fleece-lined.

KidsCan figures showed that Covid-19 resulted in an additional 10,000 children needing support, an increase of close to 30 per cent.

KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman said it was important to support vulnerable families through this crisis.

"We've never seen so many children needing food support at school, and we know that number is only going to rise as more people lose their jobs. It's going to be a tough winter for many," she said.

So far this year, KidsCan had provided more than 17,500 raincoats and 12,000 pairs of shoes to children in hardship.


Chapman said for some it would be the warmest piece of clothing they own.

"Winter is a really miserable time for children living in poverty," Chapman said.

"We know some are kept home from school when they don't have adequate clothing.

"A warm jacket is a luxury. The kids just love receiving something waterproof and cosy, and it means they can focus on learning instead of how cold they are. Teachers have even told us of children who sleep in their raincoats for warmth."

KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman. Photo / File
KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman. Photo / File

ASB chief executive Vittoria Shortt said no child should have to go to school cold.

"The past few months had been challenging for Kiwi families, and for some, Covid-19 will have put an additional strain on already struggling families."


Local branch manager Amy Callaghan said they were proud to be able to help local schools and give back to their community.

KidsCan currently supported 787 schools and 57 early childhood centres, and have had additional requests from 10 new schools and almost 100 early childhood centres for support.