• Nick Smith

Education Minister Nick Smith today opened the rebuilt Panguru Area School in Northland. The School was ravaged by flood in January and has been rebuilt on higher land at a cost of $4 million.

"This is the first day of new term, and a new beginning for the Panguru community. A huge effort has gone in to rebuilding the School and it is a credit to everyone involved that it is ready to open for the fourth term. The school's co-principals and the board of trustees have done a superb job to ensure that the effect on the education of the 190 students was minimised."

Last January, the school was almost destroyed when a flash flood devastated the Panguru Valley in the Hokianga. It caused severe damage to the school's 14
classrooms, library, administration area and gymnasium.

"This was a big logistical exercise. The site had to be cleared and the buildings lifted, so the school could be re-established on higher ground. In
the six weeks after the flood, more than 2000 tonnes of debris was removed. The contractors then had to get busy with their 'three R's': relocating,
redeveloping and refurbishing."

The Ministry of Education and the Board of Trustees used the opportunity to redevelop parts of the school to meet the needs of the current curriculum.

"It is a credit to the school and its community that the students lost only four schooldays during the whole upheaval. A crisis is often a test of the
effectiveness of management, but this team took it all in their stride and continued against all odds to provide an education for their students."