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Apanui School moves into hall following fire

Debris from the Apanui School fire.

Teachers and students will be locked out of Apanui School grounds for up to three weeks following a fire that burned down a block of classrooms.

Classes for Apanui School’s 410 primary students will take place at the Whakatane War Memorial Hall so the school grounds can be cleared, investigations can take place, and services such as power, water and fibre can be reinstalled.

The school is closed tomorrow, and classes at the hall will commence on Wednesday February 9.

The fire blazed through eight hectares, which included a nearly-completed administration block renovation and a two-storey block of eight classrooms in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A statement from Apanui School says all learning equipment will be supplied at the hall, and the Lunches in Schools programme is still running.

“Our management team have been putting together a programme for the first couple of weeks with a range of exciting activities both at the War Memorial Hall and at other venues around town,” says the statement.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure our tamariki get the opportunities they deserve.

“The upside is that this is an exciting opportunity to provide a wide range of learning for our children and something different.”

The school has received “so many wonderful offers” of help with the tidy up, but they are unable to use volunteers.

“The next stages are all managed externally, hence us all being moved off site.

“Your way to help is to be really positive with your children, talk to them, answer their questions and be excited about the 'New Apanui School' at the War Memorial Hall.

“We will require parent help/supervision with some of the activities that we do. This will be shared in time.”

The fire devastated staff and students, but the school is staying positive.

“We are pretty sure the kids will have a ball and that this part of this journey will be memorable for them!”

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