15 Sep 2021

Man arrested after February arson at Whakatāne school

5:56 pm on 15 September 2021

A 22-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the arson of Apanui Primary School in Whakatāne.

The aftermath of the fire.

The aftermath of the fire. Photo: Supplied / Apanui School

Police say the fire took place in the early hours of 6 February 2021 and destroyed the office block and eight attached classrooms.

The man was arrested in Tauranga this morning and faces charges of arson and burglary, and a further charge of aggravated robbery arising from an unrelated incident.

"This offence was one that hurt the whole community, who felt a connection to their local primary school in a small town," area manager investigations, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Wilson said.

"I'm proud of the dedication displayed by the investigation team in persevering over many months to hold the person responsible to account."

The man is due to appear in the Whakatāne District Court tomorrow.