Marketing hasn't started yet but already at least a dozen girls are eyeing up beds at Rotorua Girls' High School's new boarding hostel.
Plans for the hostel, which will be based on the nearby Toi Ohomai grounds, were revealed last month and the first intake is expected in Term 4 this year.
Among those looking at the opportunity to be a "hostel girl" is Nikau Grace Chater.
The Year 10 student is originally from Kawerau but already attends girls' high and stays in the city during the week with her grandparents.
Chater, who is a netball, kapa haka and volleyball representative at the school, is making a name for herself nationwide as a singer and will take the stage for the school as one of the main characters in this year's joint Rotorua Girls' High School and Rotorua Boys' High School production.
Her mother, Rachel Chater, said they were yet to make a final decision but staying at the hostel would allow Nikau the opportunity to grow as an individual and take responsibility for her own busy sporting, academic and cultural timetable.
"She has been living with her grandparents, which has been amazing, but as she gets busier this could be a possibility for her."
Chater credited the school for its vision in establishing what will be the first public girls' boarding school in the Bay of Plenty.
"It is an awesome opportunity for all girls to have access to a great school which will allow them the opportunity to self-manage. I see a lot of families who go to boys' high and there's not the same opportunities for girls. They will be able to go to this school and meet their needs in sports, kapa haka and academically that are not available in their areas."
Nikau said it would be great to have a hostel.
"A lot of my friends go to Rotorua Boys' High School's hostel and they have sisters who come here and have to stay with aunties and uncles ... Schools with hostels do a lot better because there is a wide range."
Principal Sarah Davis said they had already received about a dozen inquiries, from the top of the North Island to Taupō.
"That's a great response and we haven't started marketing yet."
She said the school was in the process of getting its hostel licence and sorting the lease agreement with Toi Ohomai. The hostel has been gifted the name Te Whare Whawhao by Ngāti Whākaue.
She said the hostel would be open for all year levels in Term 4, although it might not be worthwhile for the senior school as they broke early for exams.
The hostel can cater for 66 students but she would be happy if they had numbers in the 30s initially next year.
The school was currently recruiting, in talks about getting food contractors, finalising the prospectus and sorting the fee and scholarship structures, she said.
Davis, who has extensive experience running hostels at previous jobs including in Timaru and Canada, said it was an exciting time for Rotorua Girls' High School.
"Having 12 very keen already is a very healthy start when you're starting from scratch."