Some students have arrived back at school for the start of the year without food, and charities are struggling to keep up with an increasing number of parents and schools needing help.
The return to school for thousands of Kiwi kids this week brings with it the cost of uniforms, school fees, stationery and technology.
"We've had schools contact us today to tell us that they've got kids who have turned up without food," Julie Chapman, chief executive of charity KidsCan told 1 NEWS.
KidsCan has more than 2,500 children on the waiting list for basic items, like shoes.
KidsCan's baseline funding, set to run out in June, was questioned in Parliament. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said wait for Budget day.
It's estimated to cost around $38,000 to send the average child through the state school system. So it's no surprise a recent survey found that 30 per cent of parents were stressed out about back to school costs, which can run into the hundreds of dollars.
One of those expenses is new kit.
"I find it really expensive," said one parent.
Another said: "For a sports top and a jumper was $93. I think it's really too expensive for two little pieces of costume."