Around 13 schools across New Zealand received phone calls warning of a bomb threat today.
Tahatai Coast School in Papamoa, Bay of Plenty was among those affected. Parents were alerted by text and Facebook messages that the school had received a bomb threat phone call and children were being evacuated to nearby Grenada Reserve, where parents were asked to collect their children. Parents were impressed with the way staff handled the evacuation of the school's 700 students. Children were calmly lined up in their classes and parents queued to mark their children off classroom rolls before taking them home for the remainder of the day.
It appears schools in Auckland, Hamilton, Gisborne, Palmerston North, Masterton and Christchurch have also received bomb threat calls. Police believe that today's calls may be a hoax and are likely to have originated overseas as was believed to have been the case with bomb threats received by other New Zealand schools earlier this year.
The Ministry of Education has transferred a senior staff member into police national headquarters to ensure there is a coordinated response to today's threat. Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Kim Shannon said schools will respond in line with their emergency plans and will take advice from police. The Ministry is talking to schools to offer any additional support that might be required while police continue to investigate the threats.