A former Rotorua principal who used "the c expletive" about a parent and made ''vulgar'' comments about the former education minister Nikki Kaye has been censured.

Peter Bruce Walker was Rotorua Lakes High School principal at the time of the conduct and is now retired.

In a finding released today the Education Disciplinary Tribunal found Walker's actions amounted to serious misconduct.

Walker was found to have used ''vulgar'' language and made inappropriate comments about women, Kāhui Ako and the former education minister Nikki Kaye during an Eastern Rotorua Schools' governance meeting in March 2018.


The meeting was of a strategy termed Kāhui Ako.

Four principals, and two representatives of the Ministry of Education were there, as was a deputy principal for the second half of the meeting.

At the meeting, Walker made inappropriate comments about Nikki Kaye, the finding said.

Walker said he ''would follow the policies of Nikki Kaye as why wouldn't he when a woman with blonde hair and cleavage exposed was presenting them".

He also used vulgar language when referring to the parent of a student, the finding said.

He later apologised for "using the 'c' expletive".

Walker later said he "spoke strongly against her because the parent had made deliberately false accusations about three of his staff". The parent had been suggested as a community representative for the Kāhui Ako.

According to the tribunal's finding another principal in attendance described the respondent's comments as especially "cutting and raw on this occasion", but most people in attendance had become "numb to his language".


At the same meeting, Walker made inappropriate remarks about women on a number of occasions.

According to the finding, he made a number of references that if men were running the show how much better things would be.

Although said in jest, they made others at the meeting uncomfortable.

He also said that Kāhui Ako and the resources were "a waste of time", "poorly designed and executed" and that it did not offer "anything meaningful for teachers", a statement he said his staff agreed with.

After the meeting, a Ministry of Education staff member raised concerns with her manager who made a complaint to the board of trustees chair, requesting an investigation into the allegations.

The Board of Trustees investigated and accepted Walker's apology but decided not to take it further.

The Ministry staff manager filed a mandatory report with the Education Council regarding Walker's conduct.

When questioned about what he had said, Walker accepted he had made the comments but said context had not been taken into account.

He said he stood by his comments on Kāhui Ako funding and the principals' meetings but "this is not to say that I do not recognise the fine work being done by our eastern suburbs Kāhui Ako lead principal and across schoolteachers".

He said his comments about Kāhui Ako were a "true reflection of staff feelings".

Walker said he was "truly sorry for causing offence" and remained a "passionate
advocate for education, Rotorua Lakes High School and our students".

In response to an Education Council investigator he said he had "honestly reflected on the fact that my actions and statements made as principal of Rotorua Lakes High School must at all times remain professional and not emotional".

He said he had "learned an invaluable lesson and assured the Board of Trustees that this will never happen again".

In its finding, the tribunal said Walker's comments were inappropriate and vulgar.

"We find it crude, crass and unprofessional."

It found the comments made about Kāhui Ako were inappropriate because the way he expressed his opinion was not constructive and was unprofessional in that setting.

"The remarks made about Ms Nikki Kaye were childish and sexist. It is the sort of comment that is unacceptable from a principal of a school in a professional setting," the finding said.

"[The comments] were disrespectful, belittling of women, offensive to his female colleagues and an embarrassment to his male colleagues."

The tribunal was "disgusted" and said it had concerns "someone with this type of presentation holds such influential positions".

The tribunal queried Walker's ability to control his emotions and to role-model appropriate behaviour.

It said it would have imposed some conditions restricting his ability to hold leadership roles if Walker was not already due to retire.

The tribunal censured Walker and ordered the teacher register be annotated for two years.