A Rotorua kura has been left "devastated" after thieves caused more than $35,000 worth of damage.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Koutu is one of seven Rotorua education facilities which have been the target of theft and vandalism during the last month.

Thieves have been seeking iPads, computers and electronics.

Principal Koa Douglas said it had a huge impact on the school.


"The facility the items were stolen from is used on a daily basis, the majority of our learning is done digitally and those are the tools the students need to do their work."

A neighbour to the school interrupted two men on June 13 as they attempted to leave the school with monitors, keyboards and mouses.

"A neighbour challenged them, they threw everything and then ran," Douglas said. "By the time we recovered them they were already damaged and that is upsetting."

The school made the theft public on Facebook and Douglas said no one could believe they would do this to their children.

"It's tragic isn't it, that so many schools have been targeted, that people could think that's appropriate.

"We are distraught, because a school like ours, a decile three, want to be able to compete with other schools and give our kids the same opportunity."

He said the school would be using this as a chance to review its security systems.

"This is horrible, but our community have been incredibly supportive and we're hopeful we can get to the bottom of it."


Two Central Kids kindergartens, Selwyn and Fordlands, were among those vandalised.

Central Kids chief executive officer Philip Grady said the vandalism took away from the centres' ability to teach the children.

"It takes resources away from what is our core business. For the children there's a sense their special place has been invaded."

The most serious damage included breaking doors and smashing security lights.

Grady was proud of "the resilience of the staff members" at both centres.

"If anything this has put a greater focus on making Fordlands and Selwyn special and safe places for the families and the teaching staff.

"It's sad the people doing this are really damaging a space used by friends, family members and their own community."

He said Rotorua police had been "really responsive" and helpful.

Both centres were damaged at night after staff had gone home.

"These are people making mischief because they're bored, not criminals out to commit a burglary.

"That is a sad sign. I suspect these will be young people, so we need to be asking ourselves what we can do better in that space."

Rotorua police area prevention manager Inspector Brendon Keenan said the spate of break-ins was a concern for police.

"Education centres seem to be a real trend at the moment. The thieves are predominantly taking iPads, computers and electronics."