It was an exciting day for students and teachers at Morrinsville Intermediate last Thursday when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visited her former school for its 50th jubilee in her home town.
She came with a gift - a wooden police car the prime minister made as part of her woodworking, now hard materials, classes under the instruction of teacher Stewart King when she was 12 years old.
Ardern originally gifted it to her father Ross who kept it for years, now the prime minister gave it back to the school and to Mr King who is still teaching there.
He was visibly touched by Ardern's gift.
"I am very emotional, she is amazing. What a lovely gesture to go back to her father asking for the car to give it to us after all these years."
King says he remembers Ardern as a respectful student who was eager to learn. "But how could you ever guess that one day she would become prime minister?"
The woodworking teacher will retire in three weeks after working at Morrinsville Intermediate for 46 years.
Her former school was very excited for Ardern's visit. Principal Jenny Clark said: "We are proud to claim you as an ex-student and are all your groupies today."
The students welcomed the prime minister with a fiery haka - led by student Haro Lawson.
"It was nerve-racking, but so cool. I tried to stay calm, took a couple of deep breaths and then I gave my best, letting it all out for the prime minister," he said.
Visiting her old school made Ardern nostalgic.
"Coming here today, felt like coming home. The hall is exactly what it was like when I was here, but we used to sit on hard wooden benches."
She said she had lots of happy memories at Morrinsville Intermediate and still remembers her teachers from her time.
"The teachers here were fun, kind and inclusive. I don't remember what I did last week, but I do remember the names of my old teachers."
After the official ceremony, a small group of students, together with principal Clark gave the prime minister a tour around the classrooms and school grounds. Then, she carried on to visit Montana Catering in Hamilton, which supplies 9000 school lunches a day in the Waikato as part of the Government's Ka Ora, Ka Ako programme.
The programme aims to reduce food insecurity by providing primary and intermediate aged (Year 1-8) students in schools with high levels of disadvantage, access to a nutritious lunch every day.
"We did some research about the importance of nutrition for learning, especially in the younger years. Kids at high school source their food differently, they have more options, that is why we decided to focus on primary schools," the prime minister said.