Haumoana School students got to meet New Zealand's national bird when a kiwi was brought for a visit on Friday.
Teacher Kay Foley said it fitted into lessons about the local environment and next term's discussions on what it means to be a kiwi.
"It was amazing. It filled us all with wonder and awe," she said. "It was such a surprise for the kids."
The school is building a relationship with the sanctuary.
They hope to help maintain kiwi habitat and, with other sanctuary projects, to tie into a focus on the world and Hawke's Bay.
"It really is the best sort of learning," Ms Foley said.
"The kids and teachers couldn't be more excited."
Sanctuary manager Tamsin Ward-Smith said it was just chance that a kiwi was on its way to Cape Sanctuary on Friday and it made a good teaching aid.
"It's really nice when they can see something close up," she said.
"It makes it more real, especially for children."