Whanganui's first Māori language pre-school Te Heti Kohanga Reo celebrated 30 years at its Hinau St address this year.
The celebrations have lasted all year with special outings and whanau gatherings culminating with a Kaumatua Day in the garden.
One special grandparent in attendance was Huia Reweti-Henere, who founded the kohanga in a Castlecliff garage in 1983.
Her granddaughter, Kiah Medlyn Reweti, is now head kaiako (teacher) and the embodiment of the vision Huia had for a new generation of te reo speakers.
"The Kohanga originally started in February 1983 in Mrs Rangi's garage in Manuka St," Kiah said.
"By April the same year the roll had grown and the kohanga moved to the Castlecliff town hall.
"In 1989 the newly built premises in Hinau St was opened by Dame Iritanga Tawhiwhirangi and Tamati Reedy on June 17."
Kiah said she has some recollections of those early days of her education and how much she enjoyed performing kapa haka with other tamariki.
Her grandmother continued her drive to increase fluency in te reo Māori for children and started TKKM O Tupoho to enable to tamariki to continue the journey.
Iwi-led eco sanctuary project gets support from Whanganui's Forest & Bird
Museum Notebook: Our city's deep well of knowledge
"I thought we needed to set up a place for a school so the Kohanga Reo children would have somewhere to carry on to," she said.
"It's a waste of time to teach the children the language and then send them to a mainstream school."
Although she had lived in Whanganui since 1959, Huia is Ngati Porou from Reporoa and was mindful of respecting Whanganui iwi.
"I'm not originally from here and I know to go safely when entering someone else's region," she said.
Her granddaughter said she did struggle a bit in the early days.
"It wasn't that no one wanted her to do the work, it was just her sense of not wanting to encroach but she had the vision.
"She has always been unstoppable when she feels a need to do something and people get drawn in by her enthusiasm."
The Kura opened in Hinau St and soon outgrew its classroom there and opened its new premises in Cross St where it is today.
"Kokohuia Kura Secondary also started at the Kohanga Reo until it had enough students to warrant a new classroom in Matipo St," Kiah said.
Thanks to those efforts during the 1980s, Kiah has been able to follow a Māori language education pathway through to tertiary level.
Today at Te Heti Kohanga Reo, tamariki from outside the region learn the ways of local iwi while celebrating their own.
"It's good to be able to incorporate that into the learning so children see the differences and similarities in customs and language."
Inviting families to share the learning is an important aspect of kohanga reo education and Kiah said it has been a "brilliant year" for whanau experiences.
"We have organised a number of family events.
"In August a group of 50 parents and caregivers with their tamaiti attended a trip to Rotorua to visit Rainbow Springs Aquatic Centre and Mitai Māori Village.
"They ventured on to Hamilton where they saw the live musical of Moana in Te Reo Māori."
Kaumatua Day, celebrated at home, was a highlight for everyone.
"The tamariki performed kapa haka and some of them who don't have grandparents in their lives adopted new Nans and Koros," Kiah said.
"Kaumatua thoroughly enjoyed themselves watching the tamariki play while they shared korero with a glorious lunch on the shaded lawn."
Huia, now 85, said the kohanga could not be in better hands.
"It's lucky I'm still here though because if she should fall down on the job I can take over."