Flooding at Tokomaru Bay: Hatea-a-Rangi School tamariki to learn from marae

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Students are planning to learn from the neighbouring Tuatini Marae, at least until the end of term.
While their buildings are being restored following catastrophic floods, students at a Tokomaru Bay school will be studying from a marae.

The Hatea-a-Rangi School was damaged during the weekend’s severe rain in the Tairwhiti area.

Hatea-a-Rangi School principal Karla Kohatu says the school’s hopes and dreams were washed out into the ocean.

Hatea-a-Rangi school principal says the tamariki at her school are “hearty”. Photo: Māni Dunlop/RNZ

Principal Karla Kohatu said the school’s 29 students were planning to learn from the Tuatini Marae at least until the end of term.

“Some of our tamariki have come to help clean up, some of our tamariki are doing their distance learning programme,” she told RNZ on Tuesday morning.

“We will also be meeting with our whānau this afternoon to be planning a substantial learning programme until the end of term and we’ll definitely be welcoming a fantastic two-week holiday at the beginning of July.”

She said the morning was “sombre”.

“The reality is setting in and the skips have turned up to start throwing away some of the furnishings and resources which were affected by the flooding and the silt.

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“Our tamariki are pretty hearty up here so they’ve rolled up their sleeves, taken to the shovels to try and move some of the silt away and of course practising good health and safety processes with parental support.”

Hatea-a-Rangi School has been forced to close.

Hatea-a-Rangi School has been forced to close. Photo: Māni Dunlop

Kohatu said they were preparing for tradespeople to clean and re-floor the school.

Luckily, one classroom was unscathed, but students would not be returning just yet.

“I keep joking with some of the whānau and staff about the mauri in that classroom being too strong for the torrent of Waiotu Stream,” Kohatu said.

“It will become a storage space so we can allow our workers to come through and transform our kura.”

Elsewhere in the region, part of the state highway at the northern tip of the East Cape is still shut due to a slip. The only available detour is through Gisborne or Ōpōtiki.

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It is not expected to reopen until tomorrow.

Some roads around Wairoa, south of Tairāwhiti, are closed or under restrictions too, after heavy rain overnight.

Hatea-a-Rangi School was fill of silt and water this morning after yesterday’s floods.

Hatea-a-Rangi School was fill of silt and water after flooding over the weekend. Photo: Māni Dunlop/RNZ

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