Power surge gives Flaxmere kids the day off school after water cut off

Flaxmere schools decided to close on Monday morning after temporarily losing their water supplies.
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Flaxmere schools decided to close on Monday morning after temporarily losing their water supplies.

More than a thousand Hawke's Bay students have been given an unexpected day off school after power glitches temporarily cut water supplies.

The two power glitches – at 7.16am and 7.35am on Monday – affected Hastings District Council's ability to pump water in Flaxmere, raising concerns schools would be left without functioning toilets.

A council spokeswoman said the problem had been fixed, and water supplied returned to the suburb, by about 8.05am.

However, by the time word spread that the problem had been resolved, four Flaxmere schools and an early learning centre had told parents they would be closed for the day.

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The Ministry of Education's deputy secretary sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey, said the schools made their decision to close for health and safety reasons because the council initially advised them it could take until 3pm for the issue to be resolved.

The council advised at 9.30am that power had been restored, Casey said.

The schools – Flaxmere College, Kimi Ora School, Peterhead School and Irongate School – along with Te Kainga Potiki o Paharakeke Early Childhood Centre, would remain closed for the rest of the day, she said.

Flaxmere Primary School principal Robyn Isaacson said staff were remaining at the school and classes would go ahead for about 100 students who turned up without knowing about the closure.

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A handful of others had arrived after power had been restored.

"It's a fairly flexible day. Often it's difficult for us to get hold of parents so we're keeping those kids here who turn up because then we know where they are and we know that everyone is safe," Isaacson said.

"Power came on about a minute before school was due to start. It comes back to the health and safety of kids which is not something we take lightly," she said.
"It's Murphy's Law. We knew if we closed the school  we might have the water on straight away but it wasn't a risk we were prepared to take.
Lines company Unison spokesman Danny Gough power was cut for a time to customers in Havelock North and other parts of Hastings, as well as Flaxmere. Supplies were restored to all customers by 7.50am.
Gough said it appeared there was an issue with high-voltage lines coming into Hastings and the company had crews working to establish the cause. It was possible something had come into contact with a line and staff had been making physical checks of the network.

 - Stuff

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