A Manawatu College teacher was brought to tears after finding out she is one of the finalists in the Matilda Favourite Teacher competition.
Heidi Lutz, from Foxton, was selected as one of the three finalists along with Sue Gunn from Taranaki and Richard Lloyd from Waikato, after hundreds of entries.
TVNZ1 Breakfast's Matty Mclean visited Ms Lutz in her classroom to surprise her with the news in front of her adoring students.
"Your students here have nominated you for Breakfast's favourite teacher competition and I wanted to come here in person to tell you that you're one of our finalists," Matty told her.
"Oh my god, you're kidding me, I don't know what to say," Ms Lutz said tearfully.
"Oh that's just absolutely lovely. I'm sorry I'm just going to have to give you a hug!" She said giving Matty an emotional cuddle.
Ms Lutz has been a teacher in Manawatu College's supported learning area for the past 14 years, where she has made a big impact on her students.
"She's just a good person, nice person to be around," one of her pupils said.
The Matilda favourite teacher competition is a partnership between TVNZ Breakfast, Stuff and Matilda, the Musical.
The overall winner will be named this Sunday.