As the search continues for a teenager feared drowned after a class trip to Waihī Beach, his high school is considering appointing an independent investigation into the suspected tragedy.
Melville High School, in Hamilton, is rallying to support its students, staff and wider community after the disappearance and presumed drowning of 17-year-old Jaden Chhayrann at Waihī Beach on Friday.
Police officially released his name today and said the matter had been referred to the Coroner
In a special newsletter today, principal Clive Hamill said: "The board of trustees is hosting a special meeting on Wednesday, February 26, to receive my initial report on the incident and will be considering the employment of an independent investigator to undertake a thorough review.
"They will then meet in private with the extended Chhayrann family."
The school confirmed that the incident happened during an annual two-day senior geography trip to Waihī.
BLESSING SERVICE HELD TO WELCOME STUDENTS BACK
Hamill also revealed that students and staff who had been on the trip were welcomed with a special blessing service at the school marae on Friday evening - just a few hours after the tragic turn of events.
He described emotional scenes at the service.
"Over a hundred students, parents, teachers and whānau joined us in welcoming home the year 13 students and their teachers.
"The service was opened by our kaumātua, Tutu Ormsby, and included prayers and blessings offered by a Buddhist monk from our Cambodian community; as they joined us in mourning the loss of one of their own," he said.
"The service, prayers, red-string bracelets and water blessing a moving impact on the students and all those present."
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The search continues this morning for the missing teen, police confirmed.
Earlier, a parent told the Herald the teen did not resurface, despite a teacher's heroic effort to save him on Friday afternoon.
A Bay of Plenty Times reporter said Inflatable Rescue Boats were searching on the water this morning.
Flowers had been placed on rocks near the beach as well as a makeshift shrine of fruit, flowers and a fish and chip box.
Christine Moeun, a friend of Jaden's, told the Herald she was still in shock about the Waihī Beach incident and kept wishing it was a dream.
"He was always here to support his friends and family. He was such a sweetheart to everyone, that's what I loved about him. He always seem to make everyone laugh and smile. He was definitely one of the guys I love being around, he was always happy and so funny," she said.
"Still hoping he comes home safe but it really hurts that we can't do anything about it but wait for him to rest in peace beautiful angel."
Line Eppler, a tourist from the Jutland region of Denmark, said she had a "newfound respect" for the sea in New Zealand after hearing about Friday's tragedy.
The sea at Waihi Beach was similar to that on the Danish coast, she said, and her region regularly had visitors who were unaware of the dangers.
However, she said she had not been told about any danger at Waihi Beach before swimming.
"It seems like today we need to have extra respect," she said, and wouldn't swim any higher than her waist.
Otawhiwhi kaumatua Roger Tuanau said there will be a rāhui set in place, and it would take effect sometime this afternoon.