The country's largest Muslim school is at the centre of a probe after complaints to the Ministry of Education.
Last week, auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers began a forensic financial investigation into mismanagement of funds and staffing issues at Al–Madinah School, in Māngere, Auckland.
The principal had hired his brother as a head of department and his sister-in-law as a school counsellor.
Parents were notified in a newsletter that the board of trustees had been dissolved and replaced by a new commissioner, Bruce Adin, a former Minister of Education regional manager.
"I have been in this job for a week so I am unable to comment. I am aware there has been statutory intervention in the past," Adin told the Weekend Herald .
In a letter to parents, Adin wrote that the role of commissioner had "all the powers, functions and responsibilities of a board of trustees".
"I will work closely with the principal, the senior managers and the Ministry of Education to address any concerns so that Al-Madinah School can continue to educate the students successfully," he wrote.
The school's founder and principal, Asin Ali, has also emailed staff to read a chapter from the Quran "at least once this morning so that Allah protects our school and the community".
"Please may I request you to forgive me and make special dua [prayer of supplication or request]."
Ali would not comment to the Herald and referred questions to Adin.
But the sole remaining member of the school's board of trustees, and now its acting chair, Sonny Tazeen Ali said he had raised concerns with the Ministry of Education and was supportive of the investigation.
"There is a lack of compliance of procedural policy at school" he claimed.
A parent from the school claimed the board had been dissolved because of "financial" issues and "conflicts of interest".
They also said Asin Ali had hired several family members in key roles: his brother Amjad Ali is an assistant principal and the digital technology head of department, and his sister-in-law Moveena Rasheed is the school counsellor.
Amjad Ali said his background was in electronics.
"I am a qualified technology teacher but not in computers. I was forced to take the job HOD of computers because we are short-staffed," he said.
Ministry of Education sector enablement and support deputy secretary Katrina Casey said a "small number" of schools developed difficulties or "unanticipated events that they cannot resolve without outside help".
"Where we do step in, an intervention aims to bring expertise and a fresh perspective. It also acts as a circuit breaker so that the focus of the school can go back on teaching and learning."
She said the ministry had been "supporting" Al-Madinah School for just over two years, after receiving several complaints about "employment issues, financial mismanagement and issues with recruitment of staff".
"Mr Adin will work with the school and its community to particularly focus on specific issues and concerns; including assessing board financial management, employment and health and safety responsibilities are met, and to ensure the school can be returned to self-governance as soon as this is appropriate," Casey said.
"We will continue to work with Al-Madinah School to address issues and ensure that the education outcomes for students are supported effectively."
In June last year, the ministry engaged a "specialist" to perform a forensic investigation of the school's finances.
"The Office of the Auditor General [OAG] has previously raised concerns regarding the school's financial management and compliance, including related party transactions, conflicts of interest and the school's fundraising practices."
The 2017 OAG audit of the school "noted multiple irregularities including inadequate documentation for some payments, payments that appeared excessive for the purpose, and uncertainties over the extent of transactions with related parties and whether these had been carried out at arms-length".