A former Hawkes Bay primary principal has been censured for failing to alert authorities to allegations part-time music teacher Charles John Michael Harter had molested young pupils.

The Education Council's Disciplinary Tribunal found Paul Anthony Bremer was not responsible for the failure by the school's Board of Trustees to make a mandatory report, or for the actions of the board in reaching a confidential employment agreement with Harter.

However, the Tribunal found it was wrong for the board to have allowed itself to enter into an agreement with Harter on terms that as a result prevented it from communicating openly and honestly with the school community.

Harter - a music, drama and maths teacher and musician with a classroom career dating back 40 years - was sentenced in October 2014 to three years and four months jail for molesting nine of his female pupils at Havelock North Primary School.

The Education Council's manager teacher practice Andrew Greig said it was the first time the Education Council has brought a case against a registered teacher for failing to report concerns of serious misconduct.


"The safety of students in schools is of primary importance. The Disciplinary Tribunal acknowledged this by stating Mr Bremer failed in his duty as an educator to protect the safety of students in the school and, consequently, the wider community.

"It found Mr Bremer's inaction reflected adversely on his fitness to be teacher and brought discredit to the profession.

"Principals and boards of trustees must ensure they have explicit and transparent processes for submitting mandatory reports and clarity around responsibilities - as was indicated in the body of the ruling."