A female foreman was allegedly denied entry to the building site she worked at, solely on the grounds of being a female.

The incident allegedly happened at the construction site for a new school in Northland, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Tonga o Hokianga.

An engineer, also female, who worked on the project during its design phase, contacted the Herald after she was told the female foreman had been denied access.

She provided the Herald with a screenshot of the minutes of a meeting where the issue had been raised.


"PM noted the MOE [Ministry of Education] had contacted the complainant who arrived on-site to discuss the kura's request that no women are permitted on site," the meeting minutes said.

"I believe complaint was lodged by subcontractor as their lady foreman couldn't enter the site. It was recorded in the design team minutes," the engineer, who chose to remain anonymous, said.

She claims someone at the Ministry of Education (MOE) said this is not an isolated case and there are "four schools like that at the moment".

"It's outrageous, really ridiculous," the engineer said. "There is a law, regardless of school rules.

"I couldn't believe it, it's just not right. The ministry's approach is that they have bigger problems but this is just not right."

Contacted by the Herald, the MOE has confirmed that a complaint has been received.

"This matter is currently subject to confidential Human Rights Commission mediation. For that reason, we are unable to comment at this time," a spokesperson told the Herald.

The Human Rights Commission has also confirmed the complaint has been lodged.

"The Human Rights Commission has received a complaint. It is now within our confidential mediation process, so we cannot comment on the matter," a spokesperson said.