School linked to abuse allegations for sale

ROSE CAWLEY
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2013
Waimokoia Residential School

NO LONGER NEEDED: The site of Waimokoia Residential School in Bucklands Beach, where systemic sexual abuse was alleged by students, is now deserted and ready to be sold or redeveloped.

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The site of a controversial Auckland school where systemic sexual abuse was alleged may finally be about to get a new lease on life.

A Ministry of Education spokesman said the site of the former Waimokoia Residential School at Thurston Pl, Bucklands Beach was declared surplus to its requirements and the process to get rid of the property was started last July.

The residential school officially closed in 2010 after a long history of administration problems.

Students of the school also alleged assault and sexual abuse at the school's now notorious "time out" room, a cinder block building near the tennis courts.

Following the closure there was a proposal to establish Thurston Place College which was to be a school for troubled youth.

This was axed early last year after community outcry.

A ministry spokesman said the land was being offered back to the person who it was acquired off or the successor of that person.

He said it was too early to say whether the land would be sold or redeveloped as it would be up to the "end purchaser what they do with the site''.

The ministry is still finding out the details of the past ownership history of the property before an offer will be sent out to the former owner, who will then have 40 working days to respond.

The land will also be subject to the Maori Protection Mechanism which protects specific Maori interest in surplus Crown-owned land.

The ministry spokesman said the property would have to be subdivided because Bucklands Beach Intermediate, Pigeon Mountain Primary School and Waimokoia Residential School were all on one title.

Pigeon Mountain Primary board of trustees chairman Cameron Astill said it was great the land has entered the disposal process.

''It is good news, it is the next logical step for it which means hopefully it will be turned into residential land," Astill said.

He said there had been concern in the community over what would happen to the land.

After the decision to dispose of the land was made the gates and fences around the property were able to be removed as work to make the site safe could be undertaken.

''Now it is just another nice area for the public to use as a reserve until things happen,'' Astill said.

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