The small gold mining town of Waihi is divided over a global "school strike for climate" which has now drawn in children at kindergarten as well as local schools.
Waihi Kindergarten head teacher Kate Mullaney said most of her preschool children would join up to 200 students from Waihi College and local primary schools on a march through the town next Friday to meet Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga.
"They will have the opportunity to stand and deliver artwork or letters or poetry, depending on the age of the children," she said.
"No one has pulled their kids out. We have said it's totally optional, kindy will be available.
"We have put it down as an all-kindy excursion so parents have the option to come with their children."
The School Strike 4 Climate NZ now lists 22 events on March 15 from Russell to Invercargill, joining a global day of action that was inspired by a 15-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, who decided last August to stay away from school until Swedish elections on September 9.
Auckland students will rally in Aotea Square at midday to hear from students, artists, scientists and Sir Peter Blake Trust environmental programme manager Jacob Anderson.
Wellington students will meet at Civic Square at 10am and march to Parliament.
In Waihi, the strike has caused heated debate on a local community Facebook page.
"Are they their own ideas or what parents have fed into them?" asked one retired man who asked to be anonymous when contacted.
Another retiree, Merv Robertson, posted: "It's a nonsense and just plain wrong! Most of the kids will have no idea what they are protesting."
"If it's climate change or any other topic, they can learn from both sides of the story, and later on when they are ready they can make their own minds up," he told the Weekend Herald.
The Hauraki Council's Waihi ward chairman Max McLean, a retired teacher, urged the students to get involved in cleaning up local rivers or other environmental work rather than just going on a march.
"Most of what I've heard people saying is what a stupid waste of time!" he said.
"I said I don't think it's a waste of time if something else happens. If the kids don't come up with something I'll be going down there and suggesting something else they could do."
Waihi College head girl Amy Magyar, 17, who was taught by Mullaney at kindergarten and is helping to organise the march, said she had been involved in environmental issues "since day one" and leapt at the chance to join the global school movement.
"Being from a mining town, it definitely is a touchy topic," she said.
"The initial response was mixed. There were some people who their beliefs are different about climate change and they think it's a natural thing going on, and they were quite upset about students missing school.
"But the more we as students put ourselves out there and told them it's not our parents in our ears, we have our own opinions, that clarified it a lot and that got a bit more fair."
She was upset that some parents thought the students should only be learning about the issue, because she had been learning about it since kindergarten. She is studying geography and has visited glaciers that are melting.
"There is only so much educating you can do before you actually say no, that didn't work, we need to do something else!" she said.
Another Waihi ward councillor Duncan Smeaton, a 69-year-old dairy farmer, said he supported the students and felt every sector should play a part in stabilising the climate.
"Every time we hop in the car and drive somewhere or consume stuff, we are all part of the problem," he said. "We have to all play a part in finding a solution."