Family members are helping in a massive clean-up after five children aged about 10 trashed classrooms at a Northland school.
Within hours of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kaikohe posting photos on its Facebook page of Sunday evening's destruction and appealing for information, the youngsters' parents and caregivers had brought them to the school to confess.
Photos taken by kura staff show paint thrown over floors, walls and whiteboards, windows smashed, furniture upended, drawers tipped out, art materials strewn about, photocopiers and printers damaged, and displays torn down. Three classrooms in the junior block were affected.
Senior Sergeant Brian Swann, of Mid North police, said the children and family members were now helping in the mammoth clean-up.
"These kids have done a stupid thing, they got really carried away. They knew it was wrong but they kept going. Fortunately their parents and caregivers are holding them to account and getting involved in putting it right."
Because of their age the children would not go to court but they would be followed up by Youth Aid.
"It's very disappointing to everyone. It's a major setback for the school, the teachers and pupils. It's also a setback for their parents and the community, because once again it reflects badly on the Kaikohe community."
Mr Swann praised their families for "doing the right thing" once they became aware of what had happened.
The school, on Hongi St, had been swamped with offers of help, tumuaki (principal) Marea Timoko said.
"We'd like to thank our community for their tautoko [support] and their offers to support us with cleaning up the mess," she said.
The school's focus was on getting the classrooms ready in time for the start of the next school term. Yesterday was the first day of the school holidays.
The vandalism occurred between 6pm and 8pm on Sunday and was discovered that evening. Mr Swann said the children went to another school.
Just last week the kura was praised by Associate Education Minister Tim Macindoe for its good governance, strong leadership and rising student achievement.
As a result of the school's turnaround and increasing community confidence its roll was increasing rapidly, from 184 in March to a projected 241 by the end of this year.
Mr Macindoe visited the school to announce about $1 million in funding for two new classrooms to cater for the growing roll. It was hoped the new rooms would be ready by the end of next year or early 2019.