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We want half the treasure – Tikanga Maori

Maori will lay claim in General Synod to 50% of the treasure guarded by the St John's College Trust Board.

Taonga News  |  04 Nov 2011  |  6 Comments  

Te Pihopatanga is to make a serious claim for 50% of the $300 million putea held in the church’s treasure chest – the St John’s College Trust.

They will present a case to next July’s General Synod after Professor Whatarangi Winiata argued today that the St John’s College Trust had an obligation to support Maori Anglican schools – and had mostly failed to do so.

He noted that three of these schools – St Stephen's, Queens Victoria and Te Waipounamu – have closed “as a consequence of inadequate funding” and that two more, Hukarere and Te Aute, are both facing “financial distress.”

Professor Winiata later said the resolution was about achieving “Maori control over a share of the accumulated surpluses.

“If the trust had made a bigger contribution,” he says, “those schools would still be open.

“They needed a lot of money, and a lot of development. The St John’s College Trust Board is the only show that could have provided that – and they had an obligation to do so.

“It’s not like us begging to Lotto – the Trust Board should have funded those schools, because they should be supporting Maori, and in particular supporting them in education.”

Neither Professor Winiata, nor the seconder of the Pihopatanga resolution, Turi Hollis, underestimate the scale of the challenges before their proposition.

In the first place, Tikanga Maori must persuade General Synod of the merits of the resolution.

Even if General Synod does adopt the resolution, the St John’s College Trust Board – which is an independent legal entity, governed by its own trust deed – will make its own decision..

Professor Winiata puts it this way: “General Synod will decide how much instruction it will give to the St John’s College Trust Board.”

The final step would need to be taken in Parliament, which is the only body that can amend the St John's College Trusts Act in the way the Pihopatanga resolution seeks.

That Act spells out that the college funds can be used for three purposes.

There's provision for “the maintenance and support of the college” itself; and for the education of candidates for ordination.

It’s the third clause that is relevant to the Pihopatanga resolution.

It says that trust board funds can be used: “For the costs of the education of students of all races in such manner and in such places as the General Synod shall from time to time direct, so long as such education includes instruction in the principle of the Christian faith.”

“The wealth of this church,” says Professor Winiata, “is in Pakeha hands. It’s in the parishes, and the dioceses.

“I expect that the General Synod will try very hard to see that (a change) occurs.”

The full resolution


(a)  the financial resources of the St John’s College Trust Board have accumulated to a figure in excess of $300million and continue to grow

(b)  in recent years St Stephens, Queen Victoria, Te Waipounamu and Hukarere have closed as a consequence of inadequate funding

(c)  Hukarere has reopened and Te Aute continues to operate, both are facing financial distress

(d)  Te Whare Wananga o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa Charitable Trust is attracting criticism for building its financial reserves to ensure its stability

(e)  many areas of educational activity based on Kaupapa Maori that are consistent with Mihingaretanga lend themselves to advancement by Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa.

THEN Te Runanganui resolves to ask the General Synod to take action to ensure that 50% of the retained earnings of the SJCTB are put under the control of Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa.

Moved:  Prof Whatarangi Winiata  Seconded:  Ven Turi Hollis



Mike Kameta

Previous speaker... the main point here is this: The land where these so called bottomless Maori Schools, as you refer to was given on the premise that Maori Youth be given an approved education...
when you's closed these schools you broke your part of the initial agreement. Seems to run close to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Karl Appleton

Firstly the heading is quite appropriate and accurate! How many times must the Synod put money into an ungrateful, selfish, greedy, thankless and constantly-complaining "bottomless-pit" (i.e. Tipene, Wikitoria, Te Waipounamu, Te Aute and Hukarere Schools')? The only thing these schools' have shown currently - is that they are NOT worth the risk 'over-investing' in, especially now - during a global recession and post-Christchurch Earthquake disaster! In most cases' they have been poor performers' in current times' of producing very LITTLE acceptable academic results', constantly falling school roll numbers', unnecessary spending on overseas school trips', extravagant websites', TV ads', school uniforms', "Dollied-up" mini-vans', and worst of all - especially in Tipene and Te Aute's case; the constant bullying of Senior students' towards their junior counterparts' of years' past; that has left a very bad reputation of student safety marked on these schools' FOREVER; therefore resulted in their declining school rolls'. Part 1 of 4

Karl Appleton

It is due to later problems' discussed with regards to - greater funding of these Schools' plea of Prof. Winiata - that I totally support the Synod's/St Johns Trust sceptical approach and objective decisions' of the past. Winiata comes across as highly ignorant of these historical facts' and addressing these problems' foremost; and more concerned about excessive financial aid (again!!!) and Church land returned back to Maori. Maori TV's recent Native Affairs show made this issue more provocative then needed to be; by involving Iwi Leaders' of Tainui and Ngati Whatua unnecessarily this debate - in regards to the Lands of Wikitoria and Tipene being returned to them as they were gifted to the Church freely by them - years' ago. Part 2 of 4

Karl Appleton

In regards to Te Aute and Hukarere; they both have been financially rescued several times' over the years'; either by the church or NZ Govt. It is this historical fact I take issue with Winiata; and totally disagree with him and his notion - that these schools are entitled to MUCH greater funding BECAUSE of "the Anglican Church's lack of funding in the past - that was the primary factor in these schools' demise......" . What Winiata and these Maori Anglican Lobby-groups' SHOULD be doing is showing a bit more gratitude for the financial support given to them many times over the years by the Church and NZ Govt; as they have been VERY fortunate to get what they now have. Part 3 of 4

Karl Appleton

The other Tūtahi Boarding Schools' of the other denominations' have or are going through the same (financial) problems' Te Aute and Hukarere currently experiencing, and haven’t received the same urgent priority or financial-aid from the NZ Govt like Te Aute and Hukarere have had via Parekura Horomia during his time in Parliament. Therefore in conclusion; let the OTHER (more dignified) Anglican schools' in NZ and around the Pacific Islands’ have a chance at saving their communities NOW too. You've had chance after chance to rectify your problems' for years' - to no great success Winiata/Maoridom! Now do the right thing and accept your failures', step aside and share with the other Anglicans'; as the Church and NZ Govt have shown to you in the past! Part 4 of 4

Paddy Noble

Firstly I think that whoever titled this article with the heading 'we want half of the treasure' is discriminating in itself. I indicates that Maori are becoming just as greedy for money when it actually states that the trust board has the resources to help and they haven't. Secondly people should be reminded that the trust board was built on Maori land and trust that was gifted to the church. So it is only right that the trust board show more commitment to their obligation of education. Secondly no only do Maori Anglican Schools need funding they need a more realistic education reform to bring them up to date.