Parents' Page

Whanau Group

The Arohanui Whanau Group is a group of Maori families who organise various activities at the school such as the twice year powhiri to welcome new families and staff, hangi for the extended Arohanui community, marae visits, etc. The group always welcomes new members so if you are interested in supporting the school in this way please contact the group coordinator, Juanita Corbett on or Shaki Padayatchi (Principal) on or phone the school office on 838 6696.


  • Support individuals and families living with ASD, who need active, personal assistance in a compassionate manner that helps them and their community including liaising with other agencies on their behalf.

  • Inform individuals, families professionals and the wider public about ASD via a variety of mediums including social media, website, newsletters and resources as well as distributing the latest information and research relating to ASD.

  • Educate individuals, families professionals and other interested parties about ASD, by providing a range of evidence-based, tailored courses that offer practical strategies, tools and information to manage effectively for the best outcomes.

  • Advocate for those with ASD by providing submissions on relevant legislation and providing comment on government policy relating to ASD and raising awareness of ASD to promote inclusive behaviours in society.

Anyone with a disability living in Auckland, under the age of 65yrs can self-refer to Taikura Trust for a free Needs Assessment whereby their eligibility for MOH funded supports is assessed and appropriate services may be co-ordinated.

Some examples of services:

  • Carer Support Subsidy

  • Respite Care (can now be accessed via Individualised Funding once entitled to this funding)

  • Home & Community Support Services (ie: Household Management and Personal Cares) Individualised Funding may be applicable to these two supports

  • Behaviour Management

  • Community Residential Support

  • Supported Independent Living

  • Equipment and Modification Services

The NZDSA promotes the interests of people with Down syndrome and their families by:

  • producing publications which provide information to new parents

  • publishing information that is accessible to families

  • publishing a quarterly newsletter

  • providing face-to-face support to new parents, through hospital and home visits

  • providing ongoing links between families

  • maintaining regional groups and networks

  • establishing and maintaining relationships with other disability organisations

  • responding to political and social issues by submissions to government bodies and through the media

  • initiating project that will have a direct benefit to people with Down syndrome and their families

  • presenting information programs to medical practitioners, students, educators, and community orgranisations, in order to enhance their interactions with people with Down syndrome

  • providing a communication and information base

  • maintaining links with Asia Pacific Down Syndrome Federations and worldwide Down Syndrome Associations


  • The service provider for Arohanui Special School is Co-Op Taxis. The school contact person is Afraz on 302 6033,

  • Please phone Co-Op Taxis directly on this number if you have any queries regarding the taxi service.

  • If you have a change of address / change in respite / change in service etc please complete the online application

  • If your child's class placement changes at the end of the year, the application will be put through on your behalf by the school.

  • You do not need to apply for the taxi service or conveyancing every year - it will roll over automatically.

  • If your child is a new student and you want to make use of the taxi service, or your child is an existing student and you want to make use of the taxi service, please read the information below.

What is Specialised School Transport Assistance (SESTA)?

SESTA is for students aged between 5 and 21 years who have safety and/or mobility needs that prevent them from traveling independently to or from the closest state school, state-integrated school, or other educational settings.

There are two types of support:

1. A vehicle

2. Travel (conveyance) allowance to help families with the cost of transport. Mileage is calculated at .27 cents per/km (as per IRD guidelines)

When do I apply for SESTA?

Applications should be submitted at least one full school term before the service is required and whenever there is a change or addition of address, change of school (including a move to or from a satellite class), or a change in circumstances (such as changes in the student’s health, mobility or safety). Change of information applications is reviewed for ongoing eligibility.

Click Apply Now to start your application for Specialised School Transport Assistance.

Applications should be completed by the caregiver with the support of the enrolling school.

We recommend you complete this application with a Chrome browser. (Cellphones do not work)

SESTA Eligibility

SESTA is provided to support students to get to the closest state school (or state-integrated school, or educational setting) that the student can enroll at unless another school is deemed the “closest” where:

  • A Regional Director of Education determines that because of the student’s specific needs they have to enroll at another school; or

  • The student is attending a special school under an agreement under section 9 of the Education Act; or

  • The student is subject to a directed enrolment under section 11P of the Education Act 1989.

A school that is, or deemed to be, the closest does not mean that a place in a SESTA vehicle is guaranteed. When deciding whether a place in a vehicle will be provided, the Ministry will consider:

  • The safety of the student, other students, and driver on the service;

  • The length of time in a SESTA vehicle. Journey times (one way) should preferably be no longer than 40 minutes; and

  • The cost and availability of the service.

Where a student is eligible for SESTA but is not attending the closest school they can enroll at, a conveyance allowance will be provided, and not a place in a vehicle.

Ministry decisions are based on the needs of the student. The Ministry is not able to consider the caregiver’s financial position, hours of work, or other unique circumstances.

Students are eligible for SESTA if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are between the ages of 5 and 21 years old, and have safety and/ or mobility needs that prevent them from traveling independently to and from school or accessing public transport or a school bus;

  • A safety need may be where a significant risk of harm or danger to the student, or to others, exists during the journey to and from school. This may be due to challenges such as epilepsy, communication, and social skills, understanding, self-management, and decision making;

  • A mobility need may be due to challenges such as reduced mobility, fatigue, medical conditions, or limited motor skills; and

  • Are attending the closest state school, state-integrated school or other educational settings that they can enrol at.

Students are not eligible for SESTA if they're:

  • On ACC (caregivers need to contact ACC);

  • Boarding at residential schools, and need transport to and from home for the weekend or holidays; or

  • Attending a private school.

Safety needs

Where there is a significant risk of harm or danger to the student, or to others, during the journey to and from school. These may be challenges such as epilepsy, communication, and social skills, understanding, self-management, and decision making. If selected yes on the application for Safety needs, a Safe Travel Plan must be completed and uploaded to the application.

Mobility Needs

Where the physical or health-related needs of the student prevent independent travel to and from school or their accessing public transport or a school bus. This may include challenges such as reduced mobility, fatigue, medical conditions, or limited motor skills. I selected yes on the application for Mobility needs, a Safe Travel Plan must be completed and uploaded to the application.

Safe Travel Plan

A Safe Travel Plan is required when your child’s behaviours pose a risk to themselves or others while on a vehicle service, or their medical, physical, or other conditions mean that they may require assistance during transport. If assistance is required, you and the school will need to fill out a Safe Travel Plan form to support your SESTA application.

You are responsible for letting the Ministry and transport operators know about any changes that may impact the safety of your child or any other person. When changes occur, a new Safe Travel Plan will need to be provided.

Specialist Equipment Funding Form

If your child is eligible for SESTA, you can apply for Specialist Equipment Funding to pay for equipment that is used for transporting your child to and from school.

What happens after you have submitted your application?

When you submit your application, it will be reviewed, completed, and submitted to the Ministry by the school that your child is enrolling at. You can select to receive email updates on your application’s progress.

Your application will be processed within 10 working days. If your application is approved and you have provided an email address to be kept up to date on your students application, you will receive an email from the Ministry, which will include details of the transport provider to contact to arrange pick-up and drop-off times and any other special arrangements for your child.

To check the progress of your SESTA application, contact your enrolling school or email

Roles and Responsibilities

To ensure transport assistance operates safely and efficiently for all SESTA students, the following responsibilities and expectations are required of caregivers and schools. For additional information on driver responsibilities, specialist equipment, and changes in student behaviours/needs, please view the fact sheet below.

Role and responsibility of school staff

The SESTA driver is forbidden to touch any student or leave the vehicle unattended, therefore school staff has the following responsibilities:

  • Assist in the loading and unloading of a student into or out of a SESTA vehicle, apart from the necessary operation of the vehicle (e.g. activating the wheelchair hoist, removing and attaching wheelchair tie-downs, opening the door, and ensuring the step is available).

  • Assist students, where required, in and out of the vehicle and fastening the seat belt and any other personal positioning devices.

  • Ensure that the student has been toileted and is ready to be collected from the agreed pick-up point at the agreed time.

  • Inform the driver, caregiver, transport providers and Ministry if there have been any changes or events that may impact the student behaviour.

Role and responsibility of the Caregiver

The following is what may be reasonably expected from caregivers.

  • Advising the transport provider and Ministry when personal contact details change, i.e. changes to a phone number by completing the Change of Information form

  • Assisting student/s to understand safety rules and encourage them to abide by them.

  • Working with the transport provider and driver to ensure safe and appropriate student handovers;

  • Recognising their responsibility for the actions of their children;

  • Ensuring that the student has finished eating their breakfast and been toileted, and is ready to be collected, from the front entrance of their home at the agreed time.

  • Ensuring that the vehicle collection/drop-off points have clear access.

  • Informing the driver, transport provider and school(s) if there have been any changes or events that may impact on student behaviour;

  • Supplying the appropriate harness or legal restraints for students travelling in SESTA vehicles and that these are well maintained in accordance with the user manual. In some circumstances, the Ministry may accept an application to fund the provision of a harness/restraint.

  • Assisting students, where required, in and out of the vehicle and fastening the seat belt and any other personal positioning devices.


The personal information on this form is being collected for the purposes of assessing eligibility for SESTA and for reporting and evaluation purposes. The information collected by the Ministry may be used or disclosed by the Ministry only for these purposes.

The information will be used and held by the Ministry under the Privacy Act 2020 (and, where applicable, the Health Information Privacy Code 2020), and you have the right to see the information and ask us to correct it.

Please note that all SESTA vehicles are fitted with internal security cameras. The camera footage is only able to be reviewed by Police, and we require our operators to keep at least the last 168 hours of footage.