A man convicted of assaulting two teenagers is back working at Rotorua Boys' High School six months after he officially resigned.

Robert Ngarimu Simpkins (known as Ngarimu) was appointed as director of rugby at the school in October 2014 but resigned in October 2017 following the assault convictions.

It has now been revealed Simpkins, a former Bay of Plenty rugby representative, is back at the school in the same role.

In October 2015, Simpkins and his father were convicted of assaulting two young teenagers. The incident happened in January 2015 after one of three boys stole a pair of shoes from outside the Simpkins' home.


Ngarimu Simpkins pinned one on the ground and punched him in the head more than once. He also kicked or punched the boy in the stomach, winding him, and later punched one of the boys in the face, knocking him to the ground.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of assault on a child under 14 and two charges of injuring with intent to injure in July 2016 and was ordered to pay emotional harm reparation totalling $1250 to his victims.

He was placed on leave from the school in October 2016 and appealed the conviction a month later. The appeal was dismissed in September 2017 and he resigned.

In a written statement, principal Chris Grinter said Simpkins' role was "as it was before his resignation" but he now shared the role with a second person.

Robert Ngarimu Simpkins was ordered to pay reparation for emotional harm following the assaults. Photo / File
Robert Ngarimu Simpkins was ordered to pay reparation for emotional harm following the assaults. Photo / File

"Ngarimu Simpkins has been able to return to the school by way of gaining an exemption as provided for in the provisions of the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014. This process is managed independent of the school," Grinter wrote.

Documents provided by Oranga Tamariki on safety checks under the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 said "provision for an exemption process recognises that people can change and that certain historic convictions may not mean that a person is still a risk".

It said the onus would be on applicants to prove they did not pose an undue risk to children.

"The exemption process will be a robust and fair consideration of individual circumstances."


Once an application for Core Worker Exemption is received, a panel representing the Ministries of Social Development, Health, Education, Justice, and Oranga Tamariki, plus the New Zealand Police, will review the application and recommend to grant or deny it.

Grinter said the school was pleased to have Simpkins back in the role and each of the two rugby directors would have different focus areas.

The exemption Simpkins was granted does not have any conditions attached.

"However, the school will continue to provide support to Mr Simpkins and indeed all staff as appropriate. The safety and wellbeing of our students and staff is at the forefront to everything we do as a school," Grinter said.

Simpkins told the Rotorua Daily Post he had been through a lengthy process with the Ministry of Social Development to get the exemption and he was happy to now "get on with his work".

October 2014: Robert Ngarimu Simpkins appointed as Rotorua Boys' High School director of rugby and First XV coach.
October 2015: Simpkins charged with assaulting two young teenagers in relation to an incident on January 26, 2015.
July 2016: Simpkins pleads guilty to the charges. He continues his employment with the school.
October 2016: Simpkins ordered to pay emotional harm reparation totalling $1250 to two of his three young victims. His father, Miroa Simpkins, ordered to pay one victim $250 in emotional harm reparation.
October 2016: Simpkins placed on leave from RBHS.
November 2016: Simpkins appeals his conviction in the High Court at Rotorua.
September 2017: The Court of Appeal dismisses the appeal.
October 2017: Simpkins officially resigns.