Govt points finger at Māori school trust board

7:13 pm on 20 August 2015

A government report is pointing the blame at the Turakina Māori Girls' College Trust Board for the school's financial problems.

Students at Turakina Maori Girls' School.

Students at Turakina Maori Girls' School. Photo: Facebook

The Government is considering the school's viability after its roll fell to just 54 pupils this year.

The report said the trust board, which acts as the school's proprietor, has been unable to provide the Ministry of Education with adequate information on its financial state.

The ministry said it had not been able to provide audited accounts for 2012 or 2013 and its financial issues had resulted in poor maintenance of property, including the chapel and hostel which were both in need of repair.

Its head of sector enablement and support, Katrina Casey, also recommended in the report that discussions commence between the trust board, the school's board of trustees and the school itself about the possibility of the school closing at the beginning of 2016.

But former students said they were partially responsible as well.

Board of trustees chair Trish Biddle-Amoroa agreed that overdue school fees and other ongoing problems had contributed to the school's bad situation.

"Our stance is, we'll take responsibility for it, whether as a trustee or as an old girl," she said.

"We have all played a part in it, unfortunately, and that is the truth.

"Historical debt is a huge thing for whānau who have outstanding fees - how can you get them on board and say: 'hey, your pūtea, your money that you owe is really valuable at this time'?"

A board of trustees meeting was held tonight, which received many submissions from former pupils who want to help to keep the school open.