16 Oct 2015

Anglican church rejects school funding criticism

10:53 am on 16 October 2015

The Anglican Church said it is doing enough to ensure the survival of the kura it runs, contrary to criticisms made by the Minister of Maori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell.

Mr Flavell said that the churches running Māori boarding schools were not fulfilling their obligations by upgrading them and making a bigger financial contribution.

He was responding to the Minister of Education's interim decision to close Turakina Māori Girls' College.

But the Anglican church's Te Aute Trust Board chairperson Stephen Jacobi said while there have been problems in the past, those had now been resolved.

About 300 demonstrated against the proposed closure of Turakina Māori Girls' College.

About 300 demonstrated against the proposed closure of Turakina Māori Girls' College. Photo: RNZ / Laura Bootham

"Over the last two years the Anglican church through the Te Aute Trust Board and the St John's College Trust Board, has put in considerable resources coming close to $15 million to secure the future of Te Aute and Hukarere, the two iconic Māori Anglican boarding schools in the Hawke's Bay, and thanks to the investment and involvement by the church the future of those schools has been secured," he said.

The Presbyterian Church runs Turakina and Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, said it was not in a strong enough position to make the school viable.

Chair of the Presbyterian Church's Māori Synod and the school's Board of Proprietors is Reverend Wayne Te Kaawa.

He agrees with both her and Mr Flavell, but he said the Pākehā side of the church has not been supportive enough.

"In the case of Turakina two of the partners walked away over the last couple of years and left the Māori side of the church holding the school and of course we simply just don't have the funds."

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference said it does not have any comment to make at this time.