Tauranga's Otumoetai Intermediate School has been awarded the Prime Minister's Supreme Award at the inaugural Education Excellence Awards.
Representatives from 14 finalist schools and tertiary institutions were at the ceremony at Te Papa tonight, where the awards were presented by Prime Minister John Key, Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye.
Otumoetai Intermediate school was a finalist in three award categories - Excellence in Engaging, Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Excellence in Governing.
It was the co-winner of the Teaching and Learning category, alongside Kerikeri High School, in addition to being the supreme award winner of the night, for which it receives $50,000.
Principal Henk Popping said he felt "extremely humbled, excited and thrilled" to receive the award.
"Our teaching staff are certainly hard-working... for me it's a recognition of their hard work over the last six or seven years."
He would go back and ask the community how to best use the prize money, he said.
Key said all the finalists were the best in their profession.
"There's very little else that any of us can do to turn around the lives of New Zealanders that could be described as more important than this, which is education.
"It's the one thing that can make a difference for any child and any young person irrelevant of their background. You know that, and that's why you've dedicated your lives to doing it."
Each category winner received $20,000 and professional development opportunities.
Parata said the awards were an opportunity to recognise, celebrate and share the highly effective and innovative practice happening across the education system.
A panel of education experts reviewed the 147 entries and recommended the finalists across the categories.
Members of the judging panel then visited each of the finalists in order to determine the winning entries and the supreme winner.
Excellence in Engaging
St Thomas of Canterbury College - Social Enterprise Hub, Christchurch
Excellence in Leading
Makoura College staff, parents and Board of Trustees, Masterton
Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Kerikeri High School, Northland and Otumoetai Intermediate School, Tauranga
Excellence in Governing
Nōku Te Ao, Christchurch
2014 Educational Focus Prize - Learner-led pathways
Top of the South Trades Academy (TOTSTA), Nelson
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