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Wananga Issues Response to Education Minister

Council of Te Wananga o Aotearoa /Te Mana Whakahere Response to the Minister of Education

“The Council of Te Wananga o Aotearoa has delivered a response to the Minister of Education, Hon Trevor Mallard, following his initiation on 9 May of a statutory process under the Education Act to dissolve the Council and appoint a Commissioner.

“That process requires the Minister to consult with the Council within seven days of the initiation of that process and also provides for the Minister to further consult with the Council after another 21 days have passed.

“The Council has told the Minister that it accepts that Te Wananga o Aotearoa has financial, operating and reputational risks that it must manage, but firmly believes that these risks are not of sufficient magnitude to meet the thresholds set by the Education Act that would require the Minister to proceed with the process leading to the dissolution of the Council.

“In conjunction with the Crown Manager appointed by the Minister earlier this year, the Council has worked extremely hard to put in place measures that we believe will return the Wananga to a healthy financial position. In addition, key personnel, including an experienced Acting Operations Manager, have been appointed to assist in this process.

“The Council is also proposing a series of changes to the governance arrangements of the Wananga that will include structural changes and the recruitment of new Council members whose skills will assist the Wananga to better confront the issues it must manage to ensure a healthy future.

“As well, the Council is conducting a structural review of the organisation that will provide more effective and efficient management for an educational institution of this scale.

“These actions and proposals demonstrate the strong and continuing commitment of the Council to working with the Minister to address accepted issues.

“The Council believes that dissolution will harm and not assist this change process. It will also sever the current strong links with stakeholders, including iwi, who have been essential to the development of the Wananga.

“Te Wananga o Aotearoa plays a vital role in New Zealand education and has provided educational opportunities for a range of citizens of all cultural backgrounds within a strong framework of Maori values. No other institution has met the thirst for education from this large pool of untapped human potential. The Council believes it retains an essential role in ensuring this educational vision continues to be realized. Dissolution would place the realization of that vision at risk.”

Craig Coxhead, Chairman Te Wananga O Aotearoa

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