An early childhood centre run by a Rotorua iwi-based trust has had its licence suspended after a "temporary closure".
Te Puna Manawa o Whakaue, on Pererika St, chose to temporarily close on September 6 due to "staffing issues which impacted the ability to operate" - affecting 37 children aged between 3 and 5.
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But after three weeks the Ministry of Education did not feel the trust was capable of addressing the concerns and has stepped in.
"Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Iho Ake Trust did, as a temporary measure, voluntarily close Te Puna Manawa o Whakaue to manage staffing concerns," Ministry of Education enablement and support deputy secretary Katrina Casey said.
"We were preparing to suspend the licence of the service, however, they agreed to the voluntary closure until September 27 and gave us assurances the issues would be addressed in that time.
"Unfortunately by September 27 we were not satisfied with the capability of the trust to address the licensing regulations and criteria and as a result, we suspended the licence on October 9."
The ministry could not disclose what the licensing regulations and criteria were, how long the suspension would last or if any staff were facing disciplinary actions due to the "on-going licensing process".
"The wellbeing and safety of tamariki mokopuna is paramount," Casey said.
"We do understand the tamariki who were impacted by the closure have found an alternative centre that provides a similar puna reo approach to early learning."
Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Iho Ake Trust opened the Māori total immersion early childhood education centre in 2018 by as part of Ngāti Whakaue's education strategy.
The trust, according to its website, was established in 2005 to understand the significant role iwi played to achieve iwi aspirations in areas such as education, te reo and wellbeing.
It is the second early childhood centre run by the trust to close this year. The first, Te Puna Akoranga o Ngāti Whakaue, had its licence suspended after 47 breaches were found on licensing categories, the Rotorua Daily Post reported in July.
The trust did not respond to specific questions from the Rotorua Daily Post but said in a statement: "We are continuing to work with the Ministry of Education and whānau regarding the future operations of Te Puna Manawa o Whakaue".
"Unfortunately we are not in a position to provide any further details at this point."
Te Taumata o Ngāti Whakaue Iho-Ake Trust general manager Roana Bennett previously told the Rotorua Daily Post the wellbeing of tamariki was its top priority.
"We're absolutely committed to taking the appropriate steps to rectify the situation and reopen as soon as possible," she said in September.
When asked what the staffing issues were which forced the early childhood centre to close, Bennett said she could not comment due to the privacy of those people involved.