The Hato Petera College site on Auckland’s North shore is being repurposed to fully utilise the site, and provide services that align with the “historical purpose of education”.
Auckland diocese general manager James van Schie said that a “hui a whanau” was called on Zoom on July 15 to update the community on where the Interim Governance Group (IGG) was at with developing the precinct plan.
Mr van Schie, a member of the IGG, said the precinct plan is a “vision for the future”.
“What we’re trying to do is to develop a bigger picture plan for the site, rather than just little bits at a time. We want to create vision for the whole site,” he said.
At present, he said, the school buildings are being used for alternative education, run by Transformation Academy, and a corner of the site is being used for housing and social services provided by De Paul House, the fields are being used for sports and the chapel for once-a-month Maori Miha, which have been initiated by Auckland diocese vicar for Maori Manuel Beazley.
“There is a lot of space there that has potential to do more. So, the repurposing is trying to cast a vision towards the future, what are the greatest needs this site can meet and then, working out how we get there,” he said.
Mr van Schie said that the kaupapa of the repurposing was shared at the meeting. This includes education focused on vocational training, health and well-being training, housing for those educated/trained (during and after their training), culturally-appropriate services in line with Matauranga Māori and Te Ao Māori, and Katorika Māori spiritual chaplaincy services.
Mr van Schie noted that the Hato Petera College deed of grant given in 1850 by Governor-General George Grey to the Catholic bishop, called for “the education of children of our subjects of both races, and of children of other poor and destitute persons being inhabitants of the islands of the Pacific”.
“It had this education and relief of poverty intent behind it. And so, we’re obviously focused on upholding that intent,” he said.
At the meeting, it was announced that three precinct plans and presentations had been received and are being reviewed by the IGG.
“We have received wide-ranging ideas and proposals, but at this stage, the picture still requires some weaving before further input is sought from the community,” he said. “But we want to do this hui semi-regularly, so that people can keep up-to-date in what is an iterative process.”
Mr van Schie said that this hui is the first since 2019. The next “hui a whanau” is on November 11, 2023.
“We’ll be further along then, please God, and we’ll be able to let people know, ‘ok, this is what we said last time and there’s been movement. We’ve firmed up ‘a’ or ‘b’ or ‘c’’,” he said.
“We want to hear people’s feedback, because we know a lot of people care about this, so we want to bring as many people along in the waka as possible.”
He encouraged the community to go to the hatopetera.com website, join the Hato Petera mailing list, as well as follow them on social media. They can follow the Te Kamaka Hato Petera Marae Facebook page, as well as the Hato Petera College Facebook page.
“There are some people who have been involved in this for a long time who continue to be involved, who deeply care about the school: our Hato Petera whanau, people who went to the school, people who have been involved in the school,” he said. “They care about it, and they want to see it grow and are proud of it. They want to see it reborn in a way.”
Hato Petera College closed in 2018 after operating for 90 years.