Dr Ranginui Walker says that in order for Hato Petera to survive, they must open their classroom doors to non-Māori as well. His comments follow the abrupt closure of the junior school hostels.
Walker, a former Hato Petera student, says his old school needs to look at all options. He told Te Kāea, If the number of Māori students is declining, we need to allow non-Māori into the school, so Pākehā can have an idea of what Māori protocol is.
But the Education Minister Hekia Parata says it's not an issue affecting just Māori boarding schools. She went on to say, "We know this doesn't affect Turakina only, it will affect all boarding schools, Māori and non-Māori."
Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell says, "Yes it might lift the student roll but it won’t solve the on-going problems for boarding schools.
Walker went on to say, "It's a modern day problem, it started with the closure of St Stephens, Queen Victoria and now Turakina, and it's an issue affecting Hato Petera too."
The church needs to support the school more says Flavell after the closing of the junior school. Flavell said, "Originally, the welfare of the students was left to the church, but the churches aren't sending the appropriate funds to repair the buildings and keep them maintained and general school bills."
Parata says mainstream or bi-lingual school could be on the table, we’re all aware of the success of bilingual and mainstream school.
Hato Petera's Board of Trustees will meet with whānau to review their current model and will look to ensure their survival.