A number of schools have been closed due to flooding as bad weather hits the country in the wake of yesterday's earthquake.

The flooding has disrupted exams in some areas, as thousands of students were expected to sit physics and economics NCEA tests, and French scholarship exams this afternoon.

Schools in Porirua, Lower Hutt, Nelson and Taranaki closed today because of flooding in those regions. State Highways 1 and 2 have been closed in and out of the capital.
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It comes after hundreds of schools across Canterbury, Nelson-Marlborough and Wellington were closed yesterday in the aftermath of the 7.5 magnitude Hanmer Springs quake.


The Ministry of Education has offered support to those affected by the flooding, which comes as it helps schools damaged by yesterday's quake.

Six schools in Kaikoura and two in the Hurunui district are still closed due to the earthquakes.

However, one school in the district - Amuri School - will open to allow NCEA students to sit exams.

"Kaikoura is still difficult to get to," a Ministry statement issued this afternoon said.

"We are working alongside other agencies to ensure those schools have the support they need, as best we can."

Fresh water was being made available to around 17 schools in the Hurunui area, the Ministry said, as a precaution.

"We will continue to respond to requests for help either due to the effects of the earthquake or flooding, although the rain is forecast to ease later," the statement said.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) said it now expected flooding in the lower North Island to affect exams.

"If students are unable to attend an NCEA examination because their school is affected by flooding or they are unable to safely travel, the same derived grade process advised for yesterday's earthquakes will apply," the authority said.

Students who had spent the night on hills and high ground or evacuation centres following the large quake, which struck at 12.02am yesterday, were yesterday told they could apply for a derived grade instead of sitting Monday's scheduled NCEA exams.

A river rises as it nears Porirua Harbour. Schools have closed for the day in the area due to flooding. Photo / Marty Melville
A river rises as it nears Porirua Harbour. Schools have closed for the day in the area due to flooding. Photo / Marty Melville

Scholarship exams were cancelled yesterday, as the derived grade process does not apply to those tests. However, confusion reigned in the aftermath of the quakes, and students in some schools began to take their history scholarship exam, only for it to be postponed part-way through.

"New Zealand Scholarship students affected by flooding, should contact their school ASAP," NZQA said this afternoon.

"We are working with schools to make alternative arrangements for these students and ensure they are not disadvantaged."

Schools that are not affected by flooding or earthquake-related problems will open as normal and exams will continue as scheduled, NZQA said.

"Students must apply for derived grades through their schools, so if you have any questions or concerns regarding derived grades, please contact your school directly to discuss it."

Today the NZQA also advised students they can bring an emergency evacuation pack into exams, if they wish.

Any evacuation pack must be in a clear, sealable plastic bag, and stay under the student's chair during the exam. It cannot be touched or opened with the permission of the supervisor.

Meanwhile, Victoria University of Wellington has re-opened today after being given the go-ahead from engineers.

The university's campuses were closed yesterday following the earthquake.

The Kelburn and Te Aro campuses reopened today, Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford said, while its other campuses at Pipitea and Karori were expected to reopen once assessments were completed.

There would be limited disruption to students, Guilford said, with classes and events scheduled to take place on closed campuses relocated to other buildings.

The university is also offering accommodation to any tertiary student in the Wellington region who urgently needs a place to stay.

"We accommodated over 100 displaced students and neighbours at one of our halls of residence, Te Puni Village, in the hours after the earthquake," he said.

"Many were international students who had been evacuated from their apartments.

"We are able to provide beds, food, warmth and company and are happy to do the same for any other tertiary students in Wellington who need temporary lodgings."

• The emergency derived grade process is designed to ensure no student is disadvantaged due to a school, regional or national emergency.
• If a student is unable to take part in all or some of the end of year NCEA exam, their school can use their marks from previous work produced during the school year, such as mock exams and essays, to submit a recommended grade to the exam body.
• Applications are made to the NZQA via schools.