While schools reopened on Monday, many parents chose to keep their children at home.
Data collected from more than 1400 schools by the Ministry of Education showed an average national attendance rate of 79 percent. The lowest rates of attendance were in the far north.
One principal of a school in Whangārei had to contend with an online rumour mill that meant only 29 percent of students showed up to school.
Myles Ferris is the principal of Te Kura o Otangarei and president of Te Akatea, the Maori Principals' Association.