A fight between two groups outside a Whakatāne school this afternoon has seen a police presence remain as children leave for the day.

A police spokeswoman said police were called to the school on James St just after 2.30pm after reports of two groups involved in an "altercation", she said.

The two groups had dispersed by the time police arrived at the scene.

The spokeswoman said police had remained at the school, understood to be Whakatāne Intermediate, while children left for the day, to reassure and manage the situation.

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She said inquiries were continuing.

A post on the Whakatane Intermediate Facebook page from school principal Mike Webster said members of the public had gone onto the school site this afternoon for reasons not connected with the school.

"The students and staff were not in danger at any stage but the school was placed into lockdown as a precaution," Webtser wrote. "The lockdown was lifted at 3pm and all students were free and safe to travel home.

"I would like to assure the community that the school is working with the police in dealing with the people responsible for coming onto the school site. The school did send a text out at approximately 2:45pm but it appears it was not received. A second text was sent and the school will be looking into why the first text did not get delivered.

"The students were kept safe and secure at all times and the staff showed great care for their students."

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