Hato Petera College under spotlight

By Maiki Sherman

Hato Petera College is once again under the spotlight following concerns raised by board member, Dr Lance O'Sullivan.  The crux of the matter lies around the Te Whānau o Hato Petera Trust as well as concerns over the process to address issues of bullying.

Te Kāea received a statement from the Ministry of Education which says that an appropriate investigation was followed by the college to address a recent bullying incident that occurred in the school's hostel.

However, given concerns raised by Dr Lance O'Sullivan, the Ministry goes on to say that if other allegations are raised they would be pursued.  The matter though doesn't end there as a stoush has also emerged amongst the adults themselves.  

There's a power struggle amongst the Te Whānau o Hato Petera Trust and it's so heated that Dr Lance O'Sullivan refused to reveal the reason he has no confidence in its chairman.

At a meeting held at the end of last month, Lance O'Sullivan moved a motion of no confidence in the current chairman, Tame Te Rangi.

Tame Te Rangi says there were four votes in favour and one against.  But he claims the votes had no authority as they didn't meet quorum threshold under the Trust's deed. 

The crux of the concerns held by Lance O'Sullivan includes a lack of confidence in the Board's steps to address issues of bullying.

Dr O'Sullivan said, "I want to be reassured 150% that any allegation of a serious nature like this is actually, is investigated to the full, and myself as a governor a board member of the Trust, Te Whānau o Hato Petera Trust, can actually sleep at night and say that this is being investigated and the appropriate actions being taken.  Now, I've been on the Board for eight months and I tell you I'm not happy that that's the case."

However, the college principal rejects that and says in a media statement the appropriate actions have been taken.  It's a statement which is supported by the Ministry of Education.   

Education Minister Hekia Parata said, "The Ministry was made aware of the steps that the college took, was it satisfied with the steps that the college took to address those bullying issues? At that time, yes."

Last month, a bullying incident occurred whereby the partner of a dorm parent threatened a student.  The partner was not an occupant of the dorms and was trespassed by Police following the incident.

Parata said, "In my role as Minister, my concern is for the support for students and so I urge both boards to sort out their issues."

A meeting will be held this Sunday to discuss the issue and elect new board members, including perhaps a new chairman.