Hato Petera College in Northcote, Auckland. Photo / Nick Reed

A Commissioner will be appointed to take over Hato Petera College as it battles a low roll, governance issues, and an uncertain future.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said he had asked the Secretary of Education to appoint a commissioner to take over the Maori school on Auckland’s North Shore while its future was considered.

“No decisions have been made about the future of the college, but its ongoing viability is obviously a matter of discussion,” Hipkins said.

“Hato Petera has a proud history, but is facing significant challenges. Relationships within the Hato Petera community continue to be fractured and this intervention is needed so a fitting plan can be developed for the future of the college,” Hipkins said.

A limited statutory manager was appointed at the college on March 30 last year and the commissioner will take over from the now-dissolved board.

The commissioner would have discussions with the college community, the Ministry of Education and the Catholic Church, which is the school proprietor, about next steps for the school.

Hipkins said the Education Review Office had ongoing concerns about the school and was not confident it could offer a quality sustainable education for its students.

“In addition the roll has declined from 210 students in 1995 to an expected 11 this year.”

Hipkins said the church supported the commissioner appointment.

The school’s former pupils include Ranginui Walker, the late emeritus professor of Maori studies at Auckland University; the late artist Ralph Hotere, and prominent Northland doctor Dr Lance O’Sullivan.

Hato Petera was one of five Maori boarding schools and the only one in Auckland.

In late 2016 the Catholic Diocese announced it would close the boarding facilities for the school from 2017 and allow day students only. That followed the closure of its junior hostel.

It followed a consultation process on the long-term viability of the school.

Source: NZ Herald

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