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Arson attack at Kura Kaupapa is just “agony”

Shane Jones
List Member of Parliament
Media Statement

24 March 2008

Arson attack at Kura Kaupapa is just “agony” says Jones

Northland Labour List MP Shane Jones said today he was left shocked and in “agony” at the arson attack which destroyed the Kura Kaupapa School in the small Bay of Islands township of Moerewa.

“Agony is what I felt when I surveyed the charred remains of the Kura Kaupapa School and the sight was made more miserable by the extensive presence of graffiti scrawled across the walls of the school,” Mr Jones said.

“It is disgusting that we have had an arson attack at this school which the Prime Minister visited last year, but to have it tagged as well is enough for anyone to see red.

“Tagging is driving normal sane New Zealanders to new levels of hostility and rage, and to come across graffiti where a school that has been the crux of its community is just soul destroying.

“Given the cruel nature of this arson and the callous disregard the taggers have I hope the Moerewa community leaders hold the families of these culprits to account.”

Mr Jones said the senior members of the community had expressed their grief over this wanton and reckless destruction.

“I was deeply saddened to hear kaumatua speak about their emotional anguish over this arson given that parts of the school were apparently 97 years old.”

He said the Prime Minister’s visit to the Kura Kaupapa last year was one of the memories he cherished from 2007.

“The Prime Minister visited this school and was warmly received by pre-schoolers, students, teachers and parents. In fact for me, it was one of the highlights of our community visits last year.
The children were cheerful, the teachers enthusiastic, the whole school was in high spirits.”

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Mr Jones said he had already spoken to Ministry of Education officials over seeking assistance for the Kura Kaupapa.

“I will be lobbying the Minister of Education (Mr Chris Carter) to ensure that no effort is spared in getting this school up and running again. Feral acts of this nature must not be allowed to deter the school community from pursuing its vision for education and excellence.


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