I extend my best wishes to the many thousands of Kiwi children who are off to school this week.
Almost 775,000 students are heading to school and I hope that they are all looking forward to a new or first year of learning, friendships and developing new skills.
For more than 10,000 five-year-olds and their parents, it will be an even more exciting time as our youngest students go through the school gates for the first time.
They will meet their first school teacher, learn about school routines and make new friends. Over the next four terms, more than 50,000 new five-year-olds will also start school.
Almost all of them will have attended early childhood education.
They will begin learning to read and write and learn about the Arts, Mathematics, Health, Science, Social Sciences and Technology.
Parents looking for practical advice about how to prepare for the big day can find back-to-school tips on the Ministry of Education’s website.
Chris Hipkins is Education Minister of New Zealand.