The primary school in quake-ravaged Waiau had reopened today, with pupils sitting around and sharing their earthquake stories.

The 139-year-old school was the evacuation meeting point after last Monday's magnitude-7.8 earthquake, centre just a few kilometres from the North Canterbury township.

For the past week, the school has been the Civil Defence headquarters and town meeting place.

Locals whose houses have been damaged had been sleeping on mattresses on classroom floors.


But today, the school has opened as normal.

Principal Mary Kimber said it was critical for the local children to have routine and structure return to their shaken-up lives.

"It's really all about getting them back to normal," she told the Herald today.

This morning, teachers have been asking pupils to share their earthquake stories, fears and emotions.

Kimber said it was essential that the kids share their stories.

"They are just like adults - they need to talk and say how they felt."

There are some "fragile" children and members of the community, especially from families who have lost their homes or who come from badly-hit farms.

The online fundraiser to assist the school has already raised more than $17,500.
The online fundraiser to assist the school has already raised more than $17,500.

Some school bus routes could not operate today with many roads still out of action of cordoned off.

However, parents with 4WD vehicles made sure most kids got to school today.

Of the 55 enrolled children, only four have not made it into school today. And that includes two who have shifted to the North Island temporarily after their home was badly damaged.

"It's a miracle really, and goes to show the spirit that we have here," Kimber said.

Kimber thanked all of those who donated food, baking, supplies and offers of help to the school over the past week.

A former pupil has set up a Givealittle page to try and raise funds to build a new school pool after its old one was "completely decimated" in the violent shaking.

It has already raised more than $17,000 from nearly 200 donors.

"The locals and in particular, the children were really upset by the earthquake. Many are having trouble sleeping as a consequence," the Givealittle page says.

"This project will give them something positive to look forward to and will once again be a central point for the community."

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