Regional | Tāmaki Makaurau

More than 70 schools, hospitals, courthouses, places of worship receive anonymous bomb threat emails

More than 70 anonymous bomb threat emails have been sent to schools, hospitals, courthouses and places of worship since Thursday morning.

Up to 22 schools around Auckland are closed and the High Court evacuated after they were sent bomb threat emails on Friday morning.

It comes after 15 “concerning” emails were sent to schools and hospitals on Thursday.

On Friday, up to 22 schools closed due to the threats, while the Auckland High Court and the Nelson District Court were evacuated.

The Wellington Progressive Jewish Congregation, the Dunedin Synagogue, Christchurch Airport and hospitals and healthcare facilities also received the threat.

Te Whatu Ora confirmed the threatened hospitals and healthcare services are open and seeing patients as usual.

“We know that these emails are causing real concern among members of our community, particularly the emails directed at places of worship,” police said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

“Police remain confident that the emails being received are from the same source, and are not targeted at any particular community or group.”

“We do not believe there is any actual threat to the organisations receiving the emails.”

A list of schools Stuff has confirmed to have closed or received a bomb threat is included at the bottom of this story.

A Mairangi Bay School parent said they had received notification that school would be closed for the day due to a bomb threat.

The parent said the school’s closure meant he had to explain what a bomb threat was to his 9-year-old daughter, and that the threat was likely a hoax.

“I don’t want her to be anxious.”

“In my head, I know there’s no threat, there’s no issue. I understand everyone has to take it seriously but it’s frustrating that someone can do this by just flicking off an email.”

He was glad his 16-year-old son had finished his NCEA exams: “I can imagine the disruption to all these kids who are sitting an exam this morning”.

“Our kids seem to always be the ones paying the price for these things.”

The parent, a stay-at-home dad, said he might take his daughter to the cinema since school was closed.

NZQA deputy chief executive assessment Jann Marshall said the safety of students and staff was a top priority, but that each school had its own processes for handling a security lockdown, and these applied during the exam period.

“Students who are unable to sit an exam, or whose performance is impaired because of a security incident, can apply for a derived grade, or their school may apply for derived grades at scale to apply.”

On Thursday, threats were sent to 15 institutions, including schools and hospitals around the country.

Police said they were confident that the emails all came from the same source, but were still working to identify the origin.

“We do not believe there is any actual threat to those that received the email.”

Police said they were taking the matter seriously and that they appreciated it had been a nerve-wracking day.

“Staff are working with those impacted and each organisation may respond differently according to their individual circumstances and the information available to them.

“Inquiries into the matter remain ongoing and the complex task of identifying the origin of the email is underway.”

Schools closed on Friday

  • Ōrewa College – In an alert on their website, Auckland’s Ōrewa College said due to health and safety, the school was to be closed immediately.
  • Ōrewa Primary School – Ōrewa Primary School has also been instructed by police to close for the day.
  • Stella Maris Catholic Primary School – Stella Maris Catholic Primary School, also in Auckland, confirmed to parents it had received a threat and will be closed on Friday. “While it is considered a low level threat, we are erring on the side of caution”.
  • Murrays Bay Intermediate School – Murrays Bay intermediate sent an email to parents, stating they had received a threat, and to not send kids to school until the school said it was safe to do so.
  • Silverdale School
  • Waitoki School – Waitoki School in Kaukapakapa, to the north of Auckland city, informed parents it had received a bomb threat. The school was closed but would reopen from 9am.

“The police have advised us that the school has been thoroughly searched and there is no threat.”

The school will begin lessons at 9.30am and parents are asked not to drop off their children until 9am.

  • Mairangi Bay School – Mairangi Bay School also received a threatening email and is closed. “We have procedures in place and the safety of staff and students is our priority” a notice on the school website read.
  • Oteha Valley School
  • Browns Bay School – An alert on the school’s website states the school is closed due to a bomb threat.
  • Stanmore Bay School
  • Whangaparāoa Primary School – A Facebook post by Principal Kevin Cronan states that the school had received a threat, and asked parents and caregivers to keep children at home.
  • Dairy Flat Primary School – An email sent to parents stated the school had received a threatening email, and asked that students not be sent to school.
  • Murrays Bay Primary School
  • Long Bay College
  • Gulf Harbour School
  • Snells Beach School – “The school is in the process of being checked, however, due to the spread-out nature of our design, this is a laborious process,” the school said, thus it would close for the day. “The police consider the threat low, but definitely not zero, and we are not prepared to take any risk at all with our student or staff lives.”
  • Helensville School
  • Riverhead School – School is closed. “We ask that you come and pick up your child as soon as possible so we can evacuate our buildings.”
  • Matakana School – Parents are asked to collect their children from the back field.
  • Glamorgan School A notice on the school website asked parents to collect their children from their classroom. “School is closing today but we will look after any children who cannot be collected.”
  • Matua Ngaru School – Principal Michelle Holly thanked the school whānau for its support after it received the threat and closed for the day. “We have placed all learner belongings (school bags and devices) that were on bag hooks in a secure location.”
  • Tauhoa School

Public Interest Journalism