An unvaccinated school board chairman resigned just moments after the Government made Covid-19 immunisation mandatory for education workers.
Trevor McIntyre is remaining tight-lipped over his sudden decision to step down from his role at Haeata Community Campus in Christchurch.
Less than two hours after Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the vaccine would be mandatory for teachers and all school and ECE staff who come into contact with students, McIntyre emailed that he was handing in his notice, with immediate effect.
The former Christchurch Boys' High School headmaster said while it might come as a "shock" for some people, it was a personal decision to resign from the board and from an advisory role with the Ministry of Education, and he did not want to comment further.
When he was approached by the Herald today, McIntyre today refused to state his views on the vaccine.
"I don't want to comment any more really," said McIntyre who also holds a special projects role with NZ Young Farmers.
Asked to comment on the timing of his resignation letter – just moments after Hipkins' announcement on mandatory vaccination for education workers, McIntyre replied: "You can draw whatever conclusion you want from it."
McIntyre was a Ministry of Education appointee in July 2019 but had only been in the role for just over a month.
Haeata Community Campus Principal Peggy Burrows said McIntyre's move was a "very big surprise" for her and all of the board.
She phoned him straight away but it went straight to voicemail.
He called her back the next morning but didn't go deeply into his reasons.
"It was the straw that broke the camel's back ... He was just, I suppose, disappointed," Burrows said about McIntyre's decision.
"I certainly didn't ask him to justify what was doing ... but we have to live with the implications of it."
Burrows described McIntyre as "very committed, very selfless" and paid tribute to the "huge impact" he's had on the school.
"He's a man of principle. I've really enjoyed working with him," she said.
The school board will meet tomorrow to discuss the succession plan, Burrows said.
Ministry of Education's Nancy Bell Leader (Hautū) South said officials will be meeting with the school board to "determine if they need a Ministry appointed-replacement".
All education staff and workers who may have contact with children and students in schools and kura throughout New Zealand are now required to have a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by November 15 and be fully vaccinated by January 1, 2022.
While the vast majority of school staff appear to be on board with a new education vaccination mandate, a small number have taken drastic action and resigned in protest.