Hato Petera principal claims major issues being overlooked

By Maiki Sherman
  • Auckland

Te Kāea reveals the partner of a staff member who allegedly is at the centre of the recent bullying incident at Hato Petera had previously received a warning by the college.

This comes amidst revelations that the partner involved was trespassed from the school premises for allegedly threatening a student in their dorm room.

Despite this, the principal is adamant the Whānau Board took the appropriate steps to address the matter.

Hone Matthews says, 'We've met with the whānau, we've spoken with them, we've informed the Ministry of Education, we've issued a trespass notice and informed the police.”

The person in question is the partner of a dorm manager at the college. Despite the actions of the partner being the responsibility of the staff member, that staff member was not reprimanded but simply spoken to about the matter.   

Matthews says, “The staff member did not hurt the student, her husband did.”

In a media statement from the Ministry of Education to Te Kāea, it states the Ministry is confident in the process undertaken by the College.       

Therein lies one of the concerns raised by Dr Lance O'Sullivan. It's a complaint which according to the principal, who is also the chief executive of the Whānau Trust Board, that came as a surprise to them.

“These issues were raised in a meeting that he called in error, at which he proceeded to accuse our chairman and ourselves of bad conduct,” says Matthews.

Hato Petera has two boards. One is the whānau Board which is responsible for the dorms and the lease of the land, the other is the school Board which is responsible for education.

Chairman of the School Board of Trustees, Mate Webb, says he does not support Lance O'Sullivan.

Mate Webb says, “We congratulate Lance on his achievements, but I say that one should not be blind to one's own conduct. Those issues need to be left alone.”

The pair claim the major issues are being overlooked, such as those raised in the ERO report including around decapitated buildings, governance, and the lease of the land.

Webb says, “We're squabbling amongst ourselves, but we aren't the enemy, the diocese is. In his statements to the media he hasn't mentioned the diocese or the lease, or the poor state of these buildings.”

This Sunday a meeting is being held with the aim of resolving the matter. New board members will also be appointed. 

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