The fire, in the early hours of April 27, destroyed a storage shed and sports equipment. It left the students with no gear to practice or compete in the busy season, with the first soccer tournament scheduled for three days after the fire.
But thanks to the quick and generous response from local sports clubs, by the time the school opened the next day they had restocked so the games could go on.
Principal Cynthia Holden says they have been overwhelmed by the support.
“The collective effort reinforces we are a community of learners and in times of need we work to support each other,” she says.
She says it was important to get sports gear quickly to help the children feel secure after the fire.
“We needed to understand the hurt we may be feeling as a consequence of the fire. But we are fortunate the sports organisations have shown us compassion and we will manage.”
The fire was in the senior part of the school. It also damaged recreational and after school care equipment, toilets and the pool changing sheds in the same building. Firefighters arrived just in time to stop it spreading to the adjoining administration block.
Warkworth senior station officer Devan Flewellyn says flames were licking the outside of the building.
“If we had been there five minutes later we would have had a real battle on our hands.”
They were called at 1.20am responding with four engines from Warkworth, Mahurangi and Matakana. It took an hour to extinguish and the 18 firefighters stayed until 4.30am dampening it down.
When Mahurangi Matters went to press the cause of the fire was still under investigation by the NZ Fire Service and Police.
The school is liaising with insurance assessors and the Ministry of Education to replace the equipment and rebuild before term four.
For now they are making do. Last week, sports coordinator Nicole Callender had to get equipment for four tournaments involving 14 teams and 150 children in the next month. She says the sports clubs were shocked about the fire and offered equipment without hesitation.
Warkworth Netball Club donated a bag of netballs and bags, and loaned bibs, for the Interschool Netball Tournament on May 5. The Warkworth Football Club loaned soccer balls for the Hibiscus Coast School Cluster Soccer tournament three days after the fire. North Harbour Rugby donated six rugby balls and two bags of rippa rugby sets. Sports coach Tony Mordant also supplied his own rugby balls and cones so classes could continue.
Teaching and training sports equipment was completely destroyed in the fire including netball, soccer, rugby, rippa rugby, rugby league, hockey, cricket, softball, tennis, badminton and athletics equipment.
There was damage to recreational equipment, including skipping ropes and balls, and equipment used for the Year One Perceptual Motor Programme and the Cool Kids before and after school programme.
Principal Cynthia Holden says the students were told in assembly what had happened and the next steps, and were asked to be adaptable, flexible, and resilient.
“It is a good chance to accept change and manage it the best we can because it builds character.”
No further equipment was needed at this stage as the school would struggle to find somewhere to store it.
Fundraising: Warkworth Primary School PTA have set up a givealittle page for donations towards replacement of sports equipment not covered by insurance.