Schools reopen after Cyclone Gabrielle

After a few false starts to the year, schools in Northland, Auckland and Waikato are one again gearing up for Term 1; Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti schools are still affected by communication issues.

Many schools in Northland are reopening this week after closures due to Cyclone Gabrielle. 

In Northland Te Tai Tokerau, 93 of the 152 schools decided to close last week due to fears of flooding. Pat Newman, president of Te Tai Tokerau Principals’ Association, told the Advocate that safety would remain the priority, especially for students and staff in rural areas.  

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In contrast to the directive issued by the Ministry of Education during the Auckland floods, the decision over closures has remained with school boards during the cyclone event. The Ministry of Education has advised parents and whānau to communicate directly with schools to keep up to date with the situation. 

In an update posted on Facebook on 12 February, the MoE stated that Boards, Principals, Early Learning Services and Tertiary Education Providers are in the best position to decide when it is safe for on-site teaching and learning to continue and to communicate that to you and your community.” 

There are still limited communications with schools in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti. The Ministry of Education has noted that for the region, “Unless parents and caregivers hear otherwise they should assume their school, kura or early learning service is closed”.  

The Ministry of Education is advising schools and kura impacted by the cylone to contact their Emergency Response Coordinators to report any damage, though minimal damage can be self-assessed. 

Post-emergency procedures that schools or kura are obligated to follow have been provided on the Ministry of Education’s website.  

MoE has also provided guidance for schools around ākonga and staff wellbeing following the traumatic incidents of recent weeks. The advice can be found here.  


Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She has been covering education in New Zealand since 2022.
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