National | Education

Hato Petera closure not certain

Education Minister Chris Hipkins is considering whether or not to continue with the process of closing Hato Petera College.

Meanwhile, Ngāti Pāoa descendants say if the land is not used by the Crown to educate Māori, they're repossessing it.

A spokesperson for the Peters whanau of Ngāti Pāoa, Reti Boynton says, "If they aren’t going to do what our tūpuna gave this whenua for, the deal is broken, simply give it back or I'll be taking it on behalf of my family."

The stance comes despite not having the mandate from their rūnanga.

"We don't need their mandate, we came here to tautoko this."

But Education Minister Chris Hipkins says it’s an issue for Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little.

"I'm reluctant to get into that, I think that's probably something that he would have to consider if it gets to that stage.  There's obviously a few steps to go before it gets there."

Old boy Dr Lance O'Sullivan hopes to revamp the school.  A proposal was put to Ministers Hipkins, Davis and Henare at the public hui today.

"I'm very keen on exploring what those new models are and having really good discussions with potential partners on what our future 2.0 for Hato looks like."

Not a single student is currently on the roll at Hato Petera.  Minister Hipkins says his decision will be released in the coming weeks once he gets a chance to consider what's been presented to him by the Hato Petera school community.

"I'll make a decision on the immediate issue and then beyond that, we do have to think about what's the long-term future."

Dr O'Sullivan says he got a lot out of the hostel experience at Hato Petera and that a 'fit for purpose' education model must be sought to achieve better outcomes for young Māori.

"Let's create an awesome hostel environment and let's see if we can outsource the education."

Hipkins admitted today that the Crown hasn't delivered to Māori educational aspirations and says he's open to suggestions.