Classes resumed as normal at St Michael's Catholic School yesterday as police continued to investigate the murder of a young Rotorua mum who was found dead on the school's field.
Late on Monday, Police arrested a 19-year-old man in relation to the death of 22-year-old mum Lynace Parakuka yesterday. The man was known to Parakuka, though police would not reveal the nature of their relationship.
Parakuka was found dead at 11.40pm on Friday, sparking a homicide investigation, and a post-mortem was due to be carried out yesterday.
In a Facebook post, principal Kristina Crouch said the school was blessed on Sunday by parish priest Father Eamon Kennedy.
"This blessing ensured that our school was prepared properly for the safe arrival of our tamariki and their whānau."
She said pupils and parents were given the opportunity to come together with staff and the board of trustees before school to add strength to the healing process.
"A representative from almost every whānau was present," she said. "Additionally, we were supported by a number of parishioners from our Catholic community.
"Deacon Ben Pomare lead our karakia which saw our entire community praying the rosary, walking together around our school and sprinkling holy water over our grounds and buildings. Deacon Ben again blessed our whenua, the children, staff and whānau."
She said the school community collectively prayed with love and compassion for the "beautiful woman who tragically lost her life".
She said many children arrived already aware of what had happened and the school was providing a variety of pastoral supports.
"The wellbeing of our students continues to be the most important consideration at the moment.
"Parents understand the importance of ensuring that we work together in partnership to support our children. I remain enormously proud of the St Michael's families whose compassion and kindness has kept us united and strong during this difficult time."
Families and children have also laid tributes along the school's May Rd fence-line.
On October 7, these tributes will be respectfully taken down and offered back to the woman's whānau, Crouch said.
"May we all find ways to support anyone who may be affected and look for ways to spread kindness, care and comfort throughout our physical and digital communities."