Wandering gunman forced Kaitaia locals into lockdown

By Micah Thompson

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Pukemiro, Kaitaia College and Kaitaia Hospital all went into lockdown after a man with a firearm was seen roaming the township.

Joel Pirini is a doctor at Kaitaia hospital and his tamariki attend the kura and college involved.

Dr Pirini says that he and his whanau are feeling pretty good after the incident as they are headed to Whangārei for the school holidays.

"The kids, when we picked them up from kura at college yesterday, had smiles on their faces. They were feeling like they had been looked after by their kaiako and teachers and they really didn't seem too upset by it all."

Pirini's first instinct after hearing the news was to rush in and pick everyone up but that wasn't allowed, so he had to "helplessly wait" for further instruction.

"We actually got some good communication from the kura especially, about what was happening with our babies there, and we felt reassured that the kura was doing the right thing to look after them."

 Pirini says support has been offered if necessary. However, he feels that talking about it and sharing their feelings within their own whanau structure has been helpful enough.

"It was actually really interesting because they went through step by step the instructions they got from their teachers and their kaiako and it all sounded like what you would expect should happen."

With the school holidays underway, Pirini says that the kids have time to fill their minds with other things. 

"I think at the moment they're okay. We'll check in with them again and make sure they're okay as time goes on."