The son of Pamapuria School's principal has spoken out in defence of his father who, he says, wants to support his community but has been barred from speaking publicly.
Principal Stephen Hovell was placed on leave and the board of trustees replaced him with a commissioner after the arrest last month of deputy principal James Parker, who has since pleaded guilty to 49 charges of sexually abusing schoolboys and will be sentenced in November.
Since then it has emerged that police warned the school about the sleepovers occurring at Parker's home but little appeared to have been done about it. It's understood several more people have come forward alleging abuse by Parker.
Mr Hovell's son, David Hovell, of Maungatapere, said that the reason his father was not speaking up was because he had been ordered not to speak to media. Instead, all questions had to be referred to school commissioner Larry Forbes.
"Anyone who knows him personally knows that of course he would put the children's welfare above everything else. Anyone can be wise in hindsight after the event," David Hovell said.
He said he was speaking publicly, off his own back, because he was "sick of people who don't understand my father's character and in some cases have their own agenda, making untrue accusations and misleading the public".