It's been more than two decades of fulfilment and tremendous change.
But now it's time for Manurewa Central Primary School teacher Kevin Hunt to make one of the biggest changes of his life.
The 67-year-old Papakura resident is retiring after 43 years of teaching at the Manurewa school.
Mr Hunt came to Auckland "by accident" after he forgot to reapply for his teaching position at a Hawke's Bay school. That gave him the chance to go for a position at Manurewa Central.
Manurewa was an entirely different place back then, Mr Hunt says.
"In those days it was just a little town surrounded by farms and countryside.
"It was like a village."
The students at the school then were mostly European, with a handful of Maori children.
Over the years he has seen more Maori, Pacific Island and Asian children coming to the school.
The increased cultural diversity is one of the biggest changes, Mr Hunt says.
Another major change has been what teachers are expected to do in their work.
He once taught classes of 40 to 50 children, something he found easier than the smaller classes nowadays because there wasn't so much focus on individualised learning.
"Old guys like me have had to adapt. Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur."
Mr Hunt says there's also more paperwork and administration tasks now and he's found it hard to "do the things that I enjoy in teaching".
"There's been a big loss in creativity and joy of learning."
Despite that, Mr Hunt says he will miss teaching and especially taking lunchtime sports, one of his favourite things about the job.
He says he will use his newfound free time to keep active and visit his daughter and granddaughters in Australia.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Are our classrooms becoming overcrowded?