School fire deliberately lit

A fire safety officer believes a blaze which destroyed a Far North school yesterday was deliberately lit.

About 60 firefighters battled to save Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Taumarere at Moerewa, near Kawakawa, after the alarm was raised yesterday afternoon.

An estimated 90 per cent of the school buildings, which were old wooden structures which burned very easily, was destroyed.

Northland fire safety officer Terry Baylis was still investigating today but said the fire was suspicious.

"It seems like somebody broke into the main administration block from the rear, which was away from public view," he said.

"There was a lot of paper and other flammable equipment there and from what we can see it was deliberately lit."

Mr Baylis said there may have been attempts to set another part of the school alight as well.

He said police were investigating who may have lit the fire and why.

Ministry of Education spokesman Iain Butler said neighbouring childcare centres could be used as temporary classrooms until it was decided what to do about the future of the Maori immersion school.

The school could also look at sharing space with Moerewa School or using one of the old school sites that were around the area.

Talks on where to hold classes would continue tomorrow.

- NZPA

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