Hato Petera – why the hostels had to close

Over 20 years ago, in response to requests by Hato Petera College whanau, the Catholic Diocese of Auckland set up the Te Whanau o Hato Petera Trust.

In signing the Trust Deed Te Whanau o Hato Petera Trust accepted total responsibility for the land, buildings and operations of the Trust and a 20 year lease of the land comprising the boarding facilities was agreed upon.

This week the diocese has announced that boarding facilities for students at Hato Petera College will not be available in 2016.

They say the decision was not taken lightly, and was made in the best interest of the students.

The diocese says the current operating model for the hostel no longer adequately meets the needs of students.

The school will continue to operate for day students.

In a press release the diocese provided some historical and background information that they hope may assist to place their decision into context.

The diocese says that as a consequence of a continual breach of the Trust Deed over the 20 year term of the lease, they did not renew the lease agreement in 2014 for a further 20 year period.

Instead a 5 year rolling lease arrangement was offered.

Initially this offer was not accepted.

The lease agreement was only formalized when Dr Lance O’Sullivan took over as co-chair of the Trust.

If this had not occurred, the Ministry of Education hostel license would have been terminated.

The decision to close the hostel facilities in 2016 has been made for the following reasons:

  • Only very minor maintenance has occurred on the buildings over the past 20 years and consequently some of the buildings are no longer suitable to accommodate students and significant work and investment is required to bring the facilities up to a standard that the students deserve.
  • The Trust has serious financial issues and these will only become worse because of the financial costs associated with the facilities. The hostel has only been able to operate for Year 11, 12 and 13 students in Term 4, 2015, because of financial assistance from the Catholic Diocese of Auckland. 
  • The original concept of the hostel being run as noho whanau units, where a Catholic Maori couple provided a supportive family environment and truly provided care, advice and guidance for their students, gave real strength to boarding. The organisation of the hostel has changed dramatically over the last few years and the hostel now operates very differently. The concept of a family who pray and who eat together has been lost.

Over the last few months the Diocese has appreciated the open and honest communication that has occurred with the Trust Board.

They say real efforts have been made to truly honour the agreement of the Trust Deed and to cater effectively for the needs of the students in the boarding facilities and to address outstanding and essential maintenance on the buildings.

“Regrettably this outstanding contribution by the Trust Board has come too late.”

In looking to the future the Diocese is in the process of setting up a review team who will be charged with the task of undertaking a review of Catholic Maori education for secondary aged students within the Auckland Diocese.

At 1 July 2015 there were 1,216 Maori students attending the 16 Catholic Secondary schools within the Diocese of whom 84 were at Hato Petera College.

It will only be once the recommendations from the review panel are received and considered that the Diocese will be able to make any statements about Catholic Maori secondary education in the Auckland Diocese and what further options may be available for ongoing sustainable boarding facilities.


  • Supplied: Catholic Diocese of Auckland
  • Image: Facebook
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