Apanui School staff and leadership are feeling devastated following a fire which razed the nearly-completed administration block renovation and a block of eight classrooms, in the early hours of the morning (6 February).

Apanui School Principal Simon Akroyd says he and the entire school community has been shocked and saddened by the fire. “There a few words for how we are feeling this morning,” he says.

Mr Akroyd says he has utmost praise for the local volunteer Fire and Emergency crew who have put in a significant effort to contain the fire and are continuing to make the area safe. “The cause is yet unknown and I know the FENZ team will work to determine this. Right now though, our focus is on our school community – the students, their whanau, and our staff – and supporting them all as best we can.”

Mr Akroyd notes that the School’s core values are responsibility, respect and resilience. “Through adversity there is always opportunity for us to learn and grow and resilience is something we can most definitely build through this.

“Apanui School has a strong sense of whanaungatanga and I know the school and wider community will come together as we rebuild stronger.”

Mr Akroyd says he’s grateful to the many people who have reached out to offer their awhi and assistance. “We know this community is resilient and comes together through these situations. Our thanks go to those who have reached out and offered support and for your ongoing support that will be needed in the coming months.

“We will work with the Ministry of Education and other agencies on where to from here to ensure our tamariki get the school opportunities they deserve.”