Whangārei Boys’ High School has asked for more time to complete a mandatory review of its education outside the classroom systems.
Petera and 14 classmates had been inside Organ Cave when floodwaters reportedly rose to head height within minutes and swept the teen away. His body was found later that evening.
A rāhui sign and flowers sit at the entrance to the Abbey Caves track after Karnin Petera's death. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The notice, which sets out what needs to change within a given timeframe, required Whangārei Boys’ High School (WBHS) to review its education outside the classroom (EOTC) systems by June 14.
WBHS principal Karen Gilbert-Smith previously confirmed Education Outdoors New Zealand had been asked to review the school’s EOTC procedures.
She said her school was “committed” to taking whatever actions necessary to strengthen its health and safety policies, procedures and practices.
A WorkSafe spokesperson said the health and safety regulator had updated the deadline for the school to comply with the improvement notice after boys’ high requested an extension.
The school now has until July 10 to complete further work on improvements it has identified.
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“WorkSafe allows such extensions when it is clear an entity is taking its obligations seriously and making an effort to comply.”
The prohibition notice, issued by WorkSafe at the same time as the improvement notice, remains in place. The notice formally stopped all activities that occur in high-risk settings outside the classroom - a measure the school had already voluntarily taken in the days after Petera’s death.
The spokeperson said the notice will continue until the regulator is satisfied the risk can be safely managed by the school.
WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Dr Catherine Gardner indicated at the time the notices were about student safety and reassuring parents their children would be kept safe.
The regulator encouraged all schools nationwide to reflect on their own systems and processes for EOTC to ensure they met legal requirements.
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