Future of Turakina Māori Girls Boarding School in doubt

After over 110 years of operation and priding itself on excellence of education for young Māori women, the future of Turakina Māori Girls College could be in jeopardy.

Education Minister Hekia Parata has initiated consultation with the board of trustees and proprietor of Turakina Māori Girls’ College over the future of the school.

Parata says “The Ministry has supported the proprietor’s efforts to improve its financial situation. However, I’m mindful the ongoing uncertainty about the school’s future may be negatively affecting its performance, It’s with a heavy heart that I’m initiating this consultation. Turakina has more than 110 years of educating young Māori women and has produced some fine students. However, ongoing financial and governance issues, as well as the declining roll, have created a situation that is potentially detrimental to the education of Turakina’s current students.”

This follows supplementary reviews carried out on the school since 2007 after concerns were raised about the quality of teaching and learning in the school hostel.

An Education Review Office Report in 2012 also identified, “concerns about the school’s performance for students, governance and provisions in the hostel" and  recommended that the Secretary for Education undertake an intervention .

According to the recent information the state integrated Presbyterian Māori girl boarding school went from a roll of 152 in 2003 to around 54 this year.

ERO also identified, “The proprietor, the Turakina Māori Girls’ College Trust Board, is in significant financial difficulty, despite efforts to grow the roll over the past few years.  The school has also experienced challenges in recent years with a Ministry-appointed Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) in place since late 2012.”

According to the Minister, the consultation will run until 11 September 2015. Following this, the Ministry will develop a report summarising feedback. An interim decision will be made after this process has been undertaken.

Te Kāea reporter Heta Gardner is in Marton and will have more on this story tonight at 5:30.