Troubled Hato Petera College will not be shut down, it has been announced.

But the hostel at the Catholic boarding school in Northcote, Auckland, will be closed down with day students only allowed from next year, the Catholic Diocese says.

The school has been fighting a falling roll and governance issues in recent years. Its junior boarding hostel closed last October.

A consultation process looking at the long-term viability of the school was launched this year by the school's owner, the Catholic Diocese of Auckland.

Advertisement

READ MORE:
Hato Petera to close its junior facility
Axe over Hato Petera Maori college

The Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Patrick Dunn, as Proprietor of the school, said he was disappointed in the decision not to close.

"After considering all of the information from the consultation process, my concerns remain.

"In particular, the Consultation Report questions the ability of the College to provide an education that best meets the needs of students, and the opportunities for them to excel to the best of their abilities in the rapidly changing education environment of the 21st century. Having said this I will respect the decision of the Minister."

The Bishop will work with the Ministry of Education going forward.

From 2017 however, the college will operate as a College for day students only. No hostel facilities will be available.

The school's principal John Matthews told Maori Television's Te Kaea programme last night that he believed the school was destined for closure.

He believed the Ministry of Education had already made a decision on the college's future, he said.

Matthews expects an announcement will be made at a meeting today.

The Ministry and the Catholic Diocese of Auckland met this week to discuss the future of the college, Te Kaea reported.

The ministry confirmed to the programme that the two organisations will meet Hato Petera's board today and will announce a decision.

"I can only think the negative because leading up to this has been negative," Matthews said.

"The [boarding] hostels in effect have been closed twice in the last year, and each time it has impacted our roll. So at the end of 2015 when the junior and senior hostels were closed, our roll halved.

The late Ranginui Walker, a former pupil of Hato Petera College. Photo / file
The late Ranginui Walker, a former pupil of Hato Petera College. Photo / file

"[In] 2016 when they do the consultation round, it's around the sustainability of the college, not the hostel, now that our roll has been halved.

"We're a boarding school, and without a hostel we've got no school."

Closing the boarding facilities was the beginning of the end of the school, Matthews said.

The Herald has previously reported on issues at the school, including the roll falling below 100, dilapidated buildings, bullying, infighting and a lack of confidence from the Catholic Church.

Last year, two bullying incidents - including one where a child was attacked with a stick - involved police, and fears over safety led to the resignation of a board member, and parents removing children.

Hato Petera is the sole remaining Maori boarding school in Auckland and one of only five in the country.

Among its past pupils are Ranginui Walker, the late emeritus professor of Maori studies at Auckland University, All Black Walter Little, the late artist Ralph Hotere, ONZ, and former New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O'Sullivan.

Two other Auckland Maori boarding schools, St Stephen's and Queen Victoria, were closed in the early 2000s.

Late last year, the Ministry of Education closed Turakina Maori Girls' College in Marton because of financial difficulties and a falling roll.

If Hato Petera is to close, the Ministry of Education must notify Hato Petera's board of trustees of its decision before Thursday, so it can close by January 27.