2 Dec 2014

Ministry urged to intervene at college

7:41 am on 2 December 2014

A report has concluded a lack of agreement between Hato Petera College and its religious landowner is holding back the Māori boarding school.

The Education Review Office report says there is no accord between the college and the Catholic Diocese and it is not clear who has responsibility for the school's hostel buildings and the land they sit on.

It also notes there is uncertainty over the future of the lease agreement on the school and the accommodation.

ERO says the Catholic Diocese has offered a short-term lease extension, but says uncertainties remain which affect trustees' decision-making about the school's future.

It says the matters need to be sorted out so the college can continue to provide education and accommodation for Maori students in a Catholic environment.

ERO has asked the Ministry of Education to intervene and support the school board in resolving its accommodation issues.

The report also highlights that the principal and staff have worked hard to improve pupils' education and welfare, with significant progress in raising student achievement.

"Developments include a health science academy, and hospitality pathways that provide achievement, and after-school employment opportunities for students who live in the kainga," the report said.

"Unfortunately, a lack of agreement with the Catholic Diocese about property and personnel matters are impacting negatively on the board's ability to continue improvements".

ERO goes on to state it has significant concerns about one of the hostels, saying showers and rooms are below current standards for school hostel accommodation.

And it comments that a historic building close to the kainga could be a potential safety hazard for students and staff if there was a fire.

The college, which is on Auckland's North Shore and has a roll of 108, bills itself as the only Integrated, Māori Catholic Co-educational School in the world.

Hato Petera College was founded by the Mill Hill Fathers in 1928, before Marist Brothers took over the school in 1946, when it was registered as a secondary school.

Among its past students are the first Māori Catholic priest Father Wiremu Te Awhitu, academic Professor Ranginui Walker and artist Ralph Hotere.

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