Photo / Apanui School Facebook
Apanui School staff and leadership are "feeling devastated" following a fire at the Whakatāne primary school in the early hours of Saturday morning, a statement from the school said.
The fire destroyed eight classrooms and the nearly-completed administration block renovation.
“There are few words for how we are feeling this morning," said Apanui School principal Simon Akroyd.
The principal said he has the 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 whānau, and our staff – and supporting them all as best we can,” said Akroyd.
“Apanui School has a strong sense of whanaungatanga and I know the school and wider community will come together as we rebuild stronger.”
Akroyd said he is 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.”