The Northland school where a teacher who committed dozens of sex crimes worked is facing criticism for not acting to stop him.
James Parker, 37, pleaded guilty in Kaitaia District Court to 49 charges relating to sex crimes against boys.
He was the deputy principal at Pamapuria School, near Kaitaia, when he sexually assaulted 12 of his students between 2004 and 2012.
Following complaints in 2009 police led an investigation into Parker, but there was not enough evidence to prosecute him at the time.
However, police did write to Pamapuria's principal, Stephen Hovell, saying it was clearly inappropriate for a school teacher to invite young children to their residence to sleep over.
"If only the school had acted upon the letter from the police in 2009, we wouldn't be in this mess, at least not to the extent that we are," Parker's lawyer Alex Witten-Hannah told TV ONE's Close Up.
"The letter should have been shown to James Parker, indeed he should have been given a copy, and I think if he had been confronted with that letter on police letterhead that would have given him a real wake up call."
The Chairman of Pamapuria's board of trustees also saw the letter, but it is unclear exactly what action was taken at the time. The board has since resigned and the former principal is on leave and unavailable for comment.
The school is currently being run by a commissioner who said it was clear the school did not do enough to protect its pupils.
"There's claims that actions weren't taken to follow it up (the letter), but I think there will be counter claims," Lucy Forbes told ONE News.
"I think it would be counter claimed by assertions that actions were taken to follow it up, obviously those actions didn't go far enough."
President of the New Zealand Principals Federation, Paul Drummond, told Close Up he would have acted differently in the circumstances.
"In my experience I would be hesitating to sign off on any form of registration (for the teacher)," he said.
"I would be having that teacher into my office and having a very hard conversation with them about the connotations of that letter."
Local community leader, and former principal, Kelvin Davis, said people were devastated by Parker's crimes.
He agreed hard action was necessary as soon as the concerns about Parker's behaviour came to light.
"What I would have done is written a formal letter to the teacher saying you are not to be alone in a classroom, in a car (with children)," he told Close Up.
Targeting the vulnerable
Parker's victims were vulnerable children from troubled backgrounds.
"He went into the hearts and homes of the family and then took advantage of them," Pamapuria resident Ricky Houghton told ONE News.
Parker would invite his victims to his home and eventually they would stay the night.
"He seemed to have good relationship with students, he had good control of the year seven and eight group he was teaching, he was running a kapahaka group and spent a lot of time with them," Houghton said.
"He did take a lot of responsibility for dysfunctional kids and there were a lot of dysfunctional kids there at the time."
Parker began teaching at Oturu School in Kaitaia, and stayed there for around two years.
He later moved to Pamapuria School where abuse allegations were first levelled against him in 2009.
continuing to investigate Parker and there is a possibility he
could face more charges. An 0800 number set up for the case has
already received a number of calls, although police will not say
what information they have received.