Family and friends have expressed their grief after young mother Lynace Parakuka was found dead at a Rotorua school.

Rotorua police have launched a homicide investigation after they found the 22-year-old's body on the grounds of St Michael's School in Lisa Crescent, around midnight on Friday.

"So sad, rest in peace. Taken so young and early," one relative said in a social media post.

"I love you to infinity and beyond," a friend posted.

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St Michael's Catholic School principal Kristina Crouch said the board of trustees were both "shocked and saddened" that a suspected homicide had occurred on the school grounds.

"Our school is a close and tight-knit Christian community, and we know that all of our staff, students and their families will be as shocked and upset about this as we are.

"Obviously, our first concern is the wellbeing of our students and their families. We would also like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families involved. We encourage our faith community to offer their prayers to those who grieve."

Crouch said St Michael's School will be open for instruction tomorrow morning.

"If you are a parent or guardian of a child from St Michael's School please check your email inbox for an update.You can also expect that information will be made available on your child's SeeSaw profile this afternoon.

"I have spoken to police this afternoon who have agreed to notify all media on my behalf that it is both culturally and ethically inappropriate for them to be present at our school tomorrow. I have made it very clear that our staff, students and families are entitled to a settled and private return to their special learning space. We continue to pray for all those who are affected by this tragedy."

ROTORUA DAILY POST
8 Sep, 2018 9:26am
3 minutes to read
St Michael's Catholic School principal Kristina Crouch said the board of trustees were both
St Michael's Catholic School principal Kristina Crouch said the board of trustees were both "shocked and saddened" that a suspected homicide had occurred on the school grounds. Photo / Stephen Parker

Detective Inspector Mark Loper said Rotorua police held a briefing on the investigation just before midday on Saturday.

"A scene examination is under way with scientists from ESR, and we are trying to speak to as many people as possible," he said then.

When asked how long the woman had been dead before emergency services arrived at the scene, Loper said "I can't tell you that, that's part of the investigation."

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Van Kempen said the scene examination will be completed today and police are still speaking to a number of people who were in the area at the time of the death.

A post-mortem will be undertaken tomorrow.

Lydia Naera, who lives opposite the school gates on Clayton Rd, said she first noticed emergency services at the school at about 11.45pm on Friday.

She said she was driving home from the pokies when "zoom, an ambulance went straight past me".

"All the cop cars amalgamated out here all the cop cars and I'm like something bad's happening."

Police would like to hear from anyone else who may have heard or seen anything in the area - for example, yelling or arguing – between 8pm and 11.40pm.

If you can help, please call Rotorua police on (07) 349 9400. Information can also be provided anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police have launched an investigation after a 22-year-old mother was found dead on the grounds of St Michael's Catholic School. Photo / Stephen Parker
Police have launched an investigation after a 22-year-old mother was found dead on the grounds of St Michael's Catholic School. Photo / Stephen Parker