by NZ CATHOLIC staff
News that Hato Petera College’s junior boarding facilities in Auckland will open for business next year came as a surprise to the owner, the Catholic Diocese of Auckland.
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In a statement on December 8, the diocese said it is surprised and most concerned about the release of a media statement, signed by Murray Painting, by a group who represented themselves as board members of Te Whanau o Hato Petera Trust.
“Legal advice received is that this new group of trustees is not legally constituted,” the diocese’s statement said. The school’s junior boarding facility was closed in October. However, on December 7, the statement that concerned the diocese said Murray Painting was the newly elected chairman of the board of trustees.
“The trust wishes to advise the parents, students and staff that the boarding facilities will be open and we look forward to welcoming them at the commencement of the school year in 2016,” Mr Painting’s statement said.
The diocese’s statement the following day said Mr Painting’s remarks were released without advising the diocese of the intentions of those who issued it, “and the stated intention in the media release by Murray Painting to reopen the boarding facilities for Hato Petera College in 2016 has not been accepted or agreed to by the diocese”.
The diocese stated that efforts are being made to dissolve the Te Whanau of Hato Petera Trust because of insolvency.
“Te Whanau o Hato Petera trustees are legally liable for all debt incurred. The diocese has worked with the previous trustees to protect them, by providing financial assistance to pay off the debt, but will not do so again. “The lease agreement with the Te Whanau o Hato Petera Trust is due to be terminated because of the trust’s failure over an extended period of time to adequately maintain the facilities.”
The diocese said it gave a group, led by Sir Toby Curtis, an option of presenting a submission to set up a separate entity to operate the boarding facilities, providing a safe environment for students, and which would be be financially sustainable.
“The due date for the submission was December 7, 2015. No submission has been received. Rather the diocese was informed on December 7 that the new trust group has been delegated responsibility for preparing the submission. A request for extension of time for the submission has been declined by the diocese.
“Hence the boarding facilities will not be open in 2016.”