üThose watching with interest the old Hato Petera School site will be thrilled with recent moves to utilise a part of the facility for the establishment of a new entity called Te Kupenga o Hato Petera – the Hato Petera Leadership Academy. Channel Magazine's Aidan Bennett went along to get to the bottom of the exciting initiative.
The Te Kupenga o Hato Petera project is being driven by The Moko Foundation, led by Hato Petera old boy, Dr Lance O’Sullivan. The Foundation is a non-profit registered charitable entity established by Dr Lance and Tracy O’Sullivan in 2012 with the intention to support the academic, health and leadership potential of Māori and New Zealand youth. The foundation’s mission is to support and empower communities with a focus on children and young people. The foundation has been very active championing youth by taking students to international youth leadership events, running local youth summits. providing education scholarships and access to a mentoring networks.
"After serving 90 years as a unique Māori Catholic secondary school that contributed to Māori and New Zealand leadership, Hato Petera College closed in August 2018,” explains Dr Lance O’Sullivan. "However, facilities remain on the Hato Petera site that we want to see repurposed to make a meaningful contribution to fostering our rangatahi, and the growth of Māoridom and New Zealand. Our aim is to develop a boarding facility at Hato Petera into a world class environment for Māori students.”
O’Sullivan says the model is based on Te Ao Māori and will create an environment to prepare the energetic youth of today to become compassionate and generous leaders of tomorrow. “We are adopting a tuakana-teina approach; older students encourage and support their younger peers to achieve success. The focus on leadership will go hand in hand with providing pastoral care on the site, to instil essential Māori and Catholic values in our future Māori leaders."
The new academy started off this month (February) and initially accommodates 15 secondary school boys, providing them with a structured and supportive living environment. All of these boys come from isolated communities in Northland (predominantly the far North near Kaitaia) where getting access to high quality education is difficult. The students will attend local North Shore secondary schools, and will receive a high quality education backed by a strong pastoral care environment at Te Kupenga o Hato Petera.
2019 is a pilot year with the intentions of refinement and then to scale up from 2020 onwards, to grow over five years to accommodate up to 300 students within the wider Hato Petera facility.
The pilot is kicking off in Hāto Petera’s Whakaruruhau facility. This is a block of units located near the Akoranga Drive and College Road intersection. Whakaruruhau is in zone for local schools and has good access to public transport with bus routes along Akoranga Drive connecting to the wider North Shore area.
I visited the site during December. There was a working bee under way to make the Whakaruruhau block ready for the February start. Dr Lance is totally committed to the project and plans to live on site himself to drive the set-up. He was hard at work when I arrived, being assisted by – and supervising – many of the boys who will call the place home in 2019. Other members of their various whanau and project supporters were also lending a hand with the water blasting and painting. I just happened to be there at lunch time so joined them for lunch that was preceded by a karakia led by one of the youngsters. I couldn’t help but think that these guys are being given a wonderful opportunity that will only be good for all concerned.
Lance explained that the concept has been embraced by local secondary schools, excited about the possibility of supporting their aspirations to be more responsive to the academic success of Māori. He says there is value in exposing young Māori to the diverse student populations that these schools have. He pointed out that some of the schools have more students than the towns these students come from.
The opportunity here is clearly to provide rangatahi (young people) with a broad range of academic choices that will allow their future to be much brighter.
The Moko Foundation has strong working relationships with the Northland schools in order to ensure the most suitable candidates are chosen. The vision is for these students to maximise their leadership potential through the Te Kupenga o Hāto Petera experience and take these skills back to their local communities.
There is precedent for projects of this nature. There is the Inzone Education Foundation – founded by Terrance Wallace – which has been successfully operating in Epsom, in partnership with Auckland Grammar School since 2011. Inzone Education Foundation provides hostels for Māori and Pasifika youth. The Moko Foundation and Inzone Education Foundation have agreed to work together on developing resources that can be shared.
The success of Terrance Wallace and the Inzone Education Foundation was the subject of a recent movie called 'In the Zone’.
Note: Dr Lance O’Sullivan will be guest speaker at the North Harbour Club Charity Lunch scheduled for Thursday June 13th at QBE Stadium. For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org