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Arrest made in relation to arson at Whakatāne school

Press Release – New Zealand Police

Eastern Bay of Plenty Detectives have today arrested a man in relation to the arson of Apanui Primary School in Whakatne.
Eastern Bay of Plenty Detectives have today arrested a man in relation to the
arson of Apanui Primary School in Whakatāne.

The fire occurred in the early hours of 6 February 2021 and destroyed the
office block and eight attached classrooms.

A 22-year-old man was arrested in Tauranga this morning and is due to appear
in the Whakatāne District Court tomorrow facing charges of arson and
burglary, and a further charge of aggravated robbery arising from an
unrelated incident.

Area Manager Investigations, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Detective Senior Sergeant
Paul Wilson says “this offence was one that hurt the whole community, who
felt a connection to their local primary school in a small town. I’m proud
of the dedication displayed by the investigation team in persevering over
many months to hold the person responsible to account.”

As this matter is now before the court, we are unable to comment further.

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