An 18-year-old boarding school tutor is accused of raping a boy at school, prompting calls for the Government to stringently regulate such tutors.
The man, who has name suppression, was hired by the private boarding school on a one-year contract.
The tutors work in the school for board and lodgings and a small remuneration. They help teachers, particularly with physical education, sports and outdoor education.
They also help look after students in their accommodation in boarding schools, though they are meant to be supervised.
The principal of the school, which can't be named, refused to comment after the 18-year-old was charged with four counts of sexual violation of the boy, four charges of sexual connection with a young person aged between 12 and 16, one attempted sexual connection and two of doing an indecent act to assault.
He was ordered to surrender his passport and bailed to an Auckland address.
Authorities say rigorous selection and background checks are completed on tutors - but private school groups are alarmed at the lack of protection for their young pupils.
It took just minutes for the Herald on Sunday to find the man's social networking profiles, where he posted comments of a sexual nature. One photo showed him with a tight cluster of students in his hometown, titled "gang bang". Another featured a video describing someone as being "bummed".
Independent Schools Education Association chief executive Deborah Rattray said most independent schools hired gap year tutors. "The Ministry should take responsibility because these people were working in schools," she said.
But education ministry spokeswoman Megan Heffield said the Ministry did not keep record of how many schools took gap year tutors or how many tutors were working at New Zealand schools.
"It is something that schools pay for themselves from funding grants or fund raising. It is the same as any other recruitment process for other tutors or any non-teaching staff like care takers," she said.
The Teachers Council said schools conducted background checks directly with NZ Police.
"Apart from this case I have never heard of a serious incident involving gap year tutors. They are required to be vetted by police and need to be supervised by a registered teacher. This one has obviously slipped through the net," director Peter Lind said.
NZEI President Ian Leckie said anyone working in schools must go through police checks.
"All employees of the education sector need to be screened and careful consideration of all employees must be done once any record is obtained it needs to be approved, checked and verified," he said.
"A police check may not uncover everything."
Robin Finney, director of Auckland-based recruiting company Tutors Worldwide, said rigorous checks were done on all tutors they had to deal with.
They were subject to the same rules as other school staff, including not forming liaisons with students and not inviting pupils into tutor accommodation.