Briefing paper lists Hato Petera’s financial woes

hato petera

A briefing prepared by the ministry for Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis has highlighted some of the severe financial pressures facing Hato Petera College.

  • Only $1,600 of its $200,000 operations grant was being spent on delivering the curriculum.
  • 81 percent of the operations grant is spent on non-teaching personnel.
  • The three office personnel consume 53 percent of the operations grant.
  • Last year the school had an $80,000 budget deficit, but with its falling roll numbers reducing state funding that had ballooned to $190,000.
  • The school was facing a legal bill of $116,000, further details of which were redacted.

A separate briefing from the ministry noted that, in the past 20 years, there had been significant shifts and gains made in the schooling system that performs for and with Māori.

“There are now 278 schools and Kura that deliver in Māori medium, ranging from students being taught in Māori language to full immersion. This has had an impact on Māori boarding school rolls.”

Dr Mere Skerrett of Victoria University’s school of education said there was a range of reasons why the boarding schools had declined.

  • Many rural Māori were choosing not to send their children away to boarding schools
  • The church, which has played a significant role in many of the schools, had seen its influence weaken
  • From about the 1950s, the schools had also changed their curriculum towards “manual trades for men and women as housewives” and they had been slow to adapt.

“A failure to catch up with the rest of society has probably contributed to their demise,” Skerrett said.

However, 11 former students, parents and a kaumatua of the school say they are determined to keep the doors of Hato Petera open.

They have formed the Tauira Tawhito Steering Komiti and have held two hui this month to strategise increasing the college’s roll.

“We’re very clear about the direction we need to move forward,” Phyllis Pomare, the mother of last remaining student Stephanie Pomare, said.

That direction involved reinstating the school’s boarding facilities and moving away from allowing only baptised Catholics to attend the school.

Pomare, along with fellow committee member and spokesperson Ratahi Tomuri, said both changes had harmed the enrolment process.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says consultation is now underway about the possible cancellation of the integration agreement of the college. The consultation process will run until 14 May.

Following the consultation process, the Ministry of Education will provide a summary of the feedback and a decision will be made about the cancellation of the school’s integration agreement.

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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