Hato Petera parents seek a meeting with Bishop

After attending a meeting with dismayed families  who have daughters and sons at Hato Petera College Sir Toby Curtis has decided to lead a delegation which will seek a meeting with Bishop Dunn and raise the possibility of a joint strategy.

Curtis, an old boy and former principal of Hato Petera College, is a member of its current review team.

He said the families deserved to be consulted and included in a decision which affected them so greatly.

Sir Toby said consultation between the parents, the school and the church was vital so all could be at ease with the outcomes.

Parents have expressed surprise and frustration at the way the Bishop of Auckland, the church and board had arrived at the decision.

Sir Toby said many feared the end of not just the hostel but school too.

The meeting with Bishop Patrick Dunn and the parents’ group led by Sir Toby is hoped to take place in the next day or two.

Last week Hato Petera closed its boarding hostels.

Seventy-five percent of all students at Hato Petera live at the school and they come from as far away as Rotorua and Kaitaia.

Claire Morgan’s daughter is in her second year at Hato Petera.

She said closing the hostel was a threat to her daughter’s future.

“It potentially threatens the ability of my daughter to attend the college.

“My options are either to bring her back here to Kaikohe, which I don’t want to do, or find alternative accommodation or another boarding school,” Ms Morgan said.

She said the closure has come at the worst possible time because it was exam time and students were on “an emotional rollercoaster”.

Ms Morgan also said the school couldn’t function without students, “and if you take away the boarding, you’re effectively trying to shut the school down.”

Another parent, who didn’t want to be named, said her daughter had a scholarship that paid her accommodation if she attended a Māori boarding school, and the closure had harmed her daughter’s learning.

Rudy Taylor, who was appointed to the Hato Petera Trust Board this year has resigned from the board.

He says he has no confidence in it.

“So yes I have resigned through frustration and not working together. Communications is the hardest thing I’ve found out with these Trustees, so I’m not happy with them.”

Taylor says he hasn’t seen the real budgets and has concerns. “Until they really get out there and tell the truth about what’s happening, then it’s up to the whanau to see how the school will operate in the best interests for all of the whanau.”

“Some of the whanau have been ringing the principal tumuaki and say what do we do? So he said, you need to go away and get the answers from the Bishop” says Taylor.

The next AGM for the Trust will take place on November 22.


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