Porirua primary schools going without hot water

By Tema Hemi

A Porirua primary school principal says all schools should have access to running hot water for students at their schools.

When Corrina School principal Michele Whiting started at the school in 2009, she was shocked there was no running hot water.    

Whiting says, "I realised that there was no hot water in the classrooms or the toilets.  We knew we needed to get hot water into those places pretty quickly."

In 2018, Tū Ora Compass Health started the Porirua Skin Project because of ongoing issues with skin conditions among kids in the area.    

Ariana Rangi of Tū Ora Compass Health says,"As part of that, we also did a follow up survey around the access to resources for children around hygiene...we identified 11 out of 19 primary schools either self-identified as not having access to warm water for children, as having access for staff but not students, or unknown."

Because of a privacy agreement between Tū Ora Compass Health and the eleven primary schools involved in this issue, Te Ao Māori News cannot identify them. 

Cost has been identified as the main reason the schools cannot access hot water.  

"The cost associated to the infrastructural changes required to install warm water in the first place, but also the on-going cost," says Rangi. 

Whiting says, "I guess for some schools, particularly small schools, that would be quite a challenge for them."

Te Ao wrote to the Ministry of Education for an update on the issue, but they are yet to respond.

However, for Whiting the solution is simple.  

"If you expect children to wash their hands regularly then you need to make it really pleasant for them," she says. 

Tū Ora Compass Health and the Capital Coast District Health Board will now make a joint submission to the Ministry of Education.