A Kiwi teacher found carrying cocaine on a rowdy night out in Hong Kong is allowed to teach at New Zealand schools.
Mike Jon Te Karehana was censured by the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal for serious misconduct after he was convicted of cocaine possession in Hong Kong last year.
The teacher was found with the class A drug after he went to a bar with the rugby team he was coaching while working in Hong Kong in 2015.
While at a bar, a fight broke out. Te Karehana intervened to stop his players fighting with the bouncers and then rounded them up to go home. Everyone took their bags as they left the bar.
They were waiting in line for a taxi when Te Karehana and another member of the team were arrested. Following the arrest the Hong Kong police discovered .22g of powder containing cocaine in the bag Te Karehana was holding.
The teacher claimed that all members of the team were issued with the same sports bags and he must have picked up someone else's by mistake.
He explained that the person who owned the bag would not come forward and he pleaded guilty to avoid embarrassment to his employer.
On April 15, 2015, he was convicted in Hong Kong of possessing dangerous drugs, an offence punishable with a fine of up to HK$100,000 ($17,600) and imprisonment of three years.
Te Karehana was a fully registered teacher teaching physical education at Chinese International School in Hong Kong between 2006 and 2015.
On his return to New Zealand he applied to renew his practising certificate. While considering his application, the Education Council discovered he had a conviction for possessing cocaine in Hong Kong.
Te Karehana gave the Complaints Assessment Committee references that showed he was held in high regard personally and nationally, stated the report.
"These support the proposition that he is intelligent, committed and of good character and utmost integrity."
CAC and Te Karehana agreed that the conviction amounted to serious misconduct. The teacher accepted his penalty of informing his current or prospective employer of his conviction and disciplinary proceedings for two years.
He must also provide the employer with a copy of the tribunal's decision and obtain written acknowledgement from the employer that this has been sighted.
"In the circumstances, censure and the potential publication of this decision will provide an appropriate level of punishment, noting that there is likely to be an ongoing adverse impact on the respondent's career.
"The respondent appears to be an able and talented teacher and the quantity of drugs involved was small. It scarcely needs to be said that teachers should not be involved in the use or possession of prohibited drugs."