Robyn Hurliman says educating children is no "big miracle", it involves slowly chipping away and building a love for learning.
Hurliman is Owhata School's assistant principal and a Year 4 teacher there.
She said the school was a place where people felt like they belonged.
"It's a place where there's a lot of laughter and a genuine hunger for learning. It's not just the kids. It's the staff," she said.
"It's not a place where we know everything, the kids learn alongside us."
She said the school wasn't doing anything new or different in 2018 but was focusing on a whanau approach and giving pupils the strategies to cope with everything thrown their way.
"Everybody feels like they belong here. It's their place and our kids are learning boundaries but also not to take things too far but you can still have some enjoyment."
Year 4 pupil Bileigh Creighton, 8, said she had enjoyed learning to reuse, reduce and recycle.
"We're trying to help the earth and help the world be a better place."
The school held a trade day where they brought in old toys and books they didn't want and traded them with other students. They also attempted to have a waste-free lunch.
Hurliman said the school was a place where the children felt cared for and what made it special was the level of comfort people felt when there.
"The kids love people coming in. You get 5-year-olds bounding up to you.
"It's a really cool place for them to come and feel cared about."
This year the school had solar heating installed in their pool to make it usable year-round.
The board of trustees fundraised for the solar heating but also received an interest-free loan for moving away from the use of electricity.
About the school:
Principal: Bob Stiles
Location: Brent Rd, Owhata.
Type: State, co-educational, primary school
Roll: 273 (in July 2017)
Gender composition: Female - 49 per cent, Male - 51 per cent (in 2017)
Ethnic composition: Maori - 84 per cent, Pakeha - 12 per cent, Other - 4 per cent (in 2017)
Motto: Kia Mataara, be alert and ready for learning