The St John’s College Trust Board is clarifying its funding record on the eve of a General Synod debate on resource sharing in this church.
This follows an article in the Easter issue of Taonga magazine in which Professor Whatarangi Winiata said that the trust board had been “protecting” $350 million in reserves – while five Maori Anglican boarding schools have died.
In the light of the death of those schools – and the present distress of Te Aute – that protection, he suggested, could not be justified.
And so next month the General Synod will debate a motion in his name asking for half the net assets of the SJCTB to be placed under the control of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa.
But the chair of the trust board, Anne Hinton QC, says the Trust Board has given more than $2 million to the Te Aute Trust Board since 2008.
In a letter to Anglican Taonga she writes that “further funding has been offered provided certain milestones and accountabilities are met.”
The setting of those milestones, she said, is presently being considered by Te Kotahitanga and the General Synod Standing Committee.
Professor Winiata had suggested, in a draft motion reported in Taonga magazine, that Trust Board decisions “are strongly influenced by non-Maori.”
But in her letter Mrs Hinton says that the trust board has nine trustees, three from each tikanga.
Furthermore, the board allocates funding on the basis of recommendations made by Te Kotahitanga, whose members are also selected from each tikanga, and which is chaired by Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu.
“Further still,” writes Mrs Hinton, “an analysis of the Trust Board’s distributions to beneficiaries in the last year shows that Tikanga Maori has received around twice as much as Tikanga Pakeha.”
A pie chart graph headed ‘funding split’ shows that in 2011 Tikanga Maori received 64 percent of the funds distributed, compared with 27 percent given to Tikanga Pakeha, and 8 percent to Tikanga Pasefika.
Tikanga Maori “otherwise benefits in an equal way” from the allocations made to 3 Tikanga projects such as St John’s College, and the Kinder Library, she wrote.
While Professor Winiata had referred to trust funds of “about $350 million” in Taonga magazine, the value of the Trust’s total assets at the end of 2011 was $315 million.
However, these assets include the Meadowbank land and buildings occupied by St John’s College and the John Kinder Library.
These have a book value of $57.8 million, from which no income is derived – and so the trust’s investment capital is actually $257.5 million.
That is the portion of the trust’s assets which generate the income from which the trust (based on Te Kotahitanga’s advice) makes distributions to beneficiaries.
Last year, $12.4 million was distributed – including $759,000 to the Te Aute Trust Board.
It should be noted that the wording of Professor Winiata’s actual motion to be tabled at the General Synod is cast differently from that which he was contemplating when he was interviewed for the Easter issue of Taonga magazine.
His Motion 27 talks about how the resources of the Trust “have accumulated to a figure in excess of $300 million and continue to grow.”
And the actual motion does not make any include any reference to suggestions that Trust Board decisions are “strongly influenced by non-Maori”.
The full text of the Trust Board letter, and the Trust Board's Annual Report (as provided to the General Synod) can be read here and the text of Professor Winiata’s motion to the General Synod can be read here #
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