John (Hone) Matthews was reportedly suspended from his role as chief executive of Te Whanau o Hato Petera Trust
that manages the school’s hostel, chapel and marae. However, his position as college principal is unaffected, and he remains on the Whanau Trust Board.
Early in August, Radio New Zealand reported hostel trustee Rudy Taylor confirming the suspension, and saying that
three managers had quit their hostel positions as a result.
The school has two separate boards — a board of trustees to oversee the school on the west side of College Rd
and the Whanau Trust Board to watch over the hostel community, chapel and marae on the east side but, until now,
management positions are said to have been largely shared.
Secular news reports this year have tended to focus on a falling roll, dilapidated hostel buildings, bullying,
infighting and a lack of confidence from the owner, Auckland diocese. However, those reports have contained little
in the way of confirmation from the college, and even less from the diocese.
Ministry of Education spokeswoman Katrina Casey told NZ Catholic earlier this year that, in response to an ERO
report last year, the Ministry had commissioned a building inspection of Hato Petera College hostels.
“The final report to us highlighted some areas that required attention so as to comply with the Hostel Regulations
2005,” she said.
Ms Casey, who is Ministry head of sector enablement and support, said the Whanau Trust Board considered the
building report recommendations and engaged a property services consultant to provide a remediation plan to bring
the kainga [hostel buildings] up to standard. Good progress had since been made in fixing areas of non-compliance.
The Ministry was also aware of ongoing talks between Auckland diocese and the Whanau Trust Board about the
tenure of the lease agreement for the hostel facilities, Ms Casey said.
“On December 23, 2014, the proprietor approved extending the trust’s right to occupy and to manage the hostel for
another five years, to 2019. In the same month the trust wrote to the Ministry seeking to renew its hostel licence.”
NZ Catholic is aware that a number of news reports have reported comments from Hato Petera College supporters
that a five-year lease renewal is too short.
Ms Casey said the college and the trust had shared their concerns with the Ministry about the impact that the
uncertainty around future tenure of the lease arrangement has had on the school community. “We are continuing to
work with the diocese and the boards to develop a shared understanding about future plans for the school and hostels,” she said.
Further complicating the picture, is that a group of old boys have lodged a Treaty of Waitangi claim on the property and surrounding land, including Auckland University of Technology’s Northcote campus.
The submission was made by Nga Tauira Tawhito o Hato Petera, a pan-tribal organisation with 1200 members
made up of affiliated Catholic Maori who share an allegiance to the college and which is claiming the land — 376 acres (152ha).