The Ministry of Education has appointed a commissioner for a troubled West Auckland school after its entire board of trustees walked out.

Matipo Primary School, in Te Atatū Peninsula, now has a commissioner in place of the board; whose remaining three elected members, including the chair, resigned late last week.

In a letter to parents today, newly appointed commissioner Dennis Finn said he was looking forward to working with the wider community to address issues at the school.

Ministry of Education moves in on West Auckland school after entire board resigns
Auckland's Matipo Primary School calls in police over 'serious misconduct'
Controversial principal Julie Small to take up reins at prestigious Waikato school


"I appreciate that this is not an easy time and that people will have differing views of certain aspects affecting your school," he said.

"I want to assure you, however, that we will work our way through the issues so that the school returns to its community as soon as possible.''

A notice of dissolution of the board of trustees at Matipo Primary School - whose motto is "Seek The Truth" - was published in the New Zealand Gazette earlier this week.

The exact reason for the resignations have not been explained, but come after several other board member resignations in previous months.

Matipo Primary School, in Te Atatū Peninsula, where the entire board of trustees resigned late last week. Photo / Dean Purcell
Matipo Primary School, in Te Atatū Peninsula, where the entire board of trustees resigned late last week. Photo / Dean Purcell

It is also understood that more than a dozen teachers or staff members have resigned or been let go this year and that, as a result, there was growing concern among parents and the wider school community.

The resignations also follow historical concerns of serious misconduct relating to financial matters at the school; which led to investigations being carried out by the ministry, the Education Council and police.

The Education Council told the Herald this week that that investigation was ongoing and there was no update.

Finn said he had 19 years experience working in statutory interventions and was confident they would be able to move forward positively in the school community's interests.

He has worked in schools all around the country that have faced troubled times or circumstances in the past; including at Berkley Normal Middle School, in Hamilton, and Fairfield College, also in Hamilton.

His work at Fairfield, in 2009, may likely be similar to Matipo's case in that he was brought in at that school after its whole board of trustees also resigned.

Matipo's new commissioner encouraged parents and those connected to the school to communicate with him.

"Right now, I must scope the needs of the school and this requires me to talk to a range of people."

Matipo principal Paul Wright, who took over the reins from long-time headmaster Wayne Bainbridge last October, said this week that the school remained in a strong position to provide excellent education for its pupils.