A brief History
HATO PETERA – TIME FOR CHANGE
Now in its 90th year Hato Petera has come to the point where it needs to reinvent what it has to offer. It is clear that the model that has seen it contribute to the growth of Maoridom and New Zealand for almost a century needs to change. The boarding facility at Hato Petera closed 18 months ago and recently the Minister of Education announced the closure of the school signalling an end of an era. Concerns have long been raised about the decline of Maori religious boarding schools over the last two decades who have struggled to compete against new options for parents who wanted their children to have a Maori education. Kura kaupapa Maori, rumaki (bilingual) units and Te Reo Maori language being offered at more mainstream schools created a competitive environment that did not exist previously. Maori boarding schools failed to adapt to this and within a short period of time closures of these iconic Maori institutions started to occur. The model that Maori boarding schools such as Hato Petera, Hato Paora, Te Aute, Tipene, Turakina, Hato Hohepa, Wikitoria and Hukarere employed so well for so long was based on providing a supported living environment where Maori and Christian values produced young Maori of strong character and identity.
These institutions strived to provide a strong academic base for rangatahi with a number of noted leaders graduating from these schools such as Sir Apirana Ngata (Te Aute-first Maori university graduate), Sir Peter Buck (Te Aute-first Maori doctor), Dame Whina Cooper (Hato Hohepa-famed Maori leader of change), Dame Mira Szaszy (Wikitoria-first Maori female University graduate), Sir Ranginui Walker (Hato Petera-powerful academic activist), Sir Toby Curtis (Hato Petera-educationalist), Hoani Waititi (Tipene/Te Aute-educationalist) Sir Archie Taiaroa (Hato Paora-tribal leader), Georgina Te Heuheu (Turakina-first Maori female law graduate), Dame IritanaTawhiwhirangi (Hukarere-founding member of Te Kohanga Reo) and Bishop Max Mariu (Hato Paora-first Maori Catholic Bishop) who went on to make significant gains for their people and New Zealand as a whole.