Corruption and malpractice claims follow order for Tokaikolo’s school to close

In image: Tokaikolo Church’s Pacific Christian School. Photo/Kalino Latu, Kaniva News

A South Auckland church leader claimed yesterday that corruption and malpractice was widespread at a private Christian school which has been ordered to close down by the government.

Rev Faka’osi Hau, one of the leaders of the new Mo’ui ‘Ia Kalaisi fellowship in South Auckland, made his allegations in the wake of revelations that the Pacific Christian School had been given a fortnight to close down and that its principal was not a registered teacher.

Rev Hau’s group broke away from the Tokaikolo church and he has been a fierce opponent of its President, Liufau Saulala, for the past 10 years.

Rev Hau, who worked in the office of the Tokaikolo church in Mangere, claimed last night that:

  • In some cases students’ marks had been altered to benefit children of those who supported the church leader to get top places.
  • Teachers were frequently not paid.
  • He had advised the Board of Trustees to de-register the school.

Rev Hau told Kaniva News he moved his son to another school because he believed his results had been altered. He claimed that the changes benefitted children related to senior church officials.

He said he had been told by a teacher at the school that based on exam results, his son had actually come second in the class. However, on prize giving day he was ranked fourth.

He said President Liufau asked him to return his son to the school, saying it was important that they stood together to support the institution, but he refused.

Rev Hau said he had openly poured out his disappointment to Tokaikolo Church Former Superintendent Rev Pita Vai about the situation.

He said he told the church the action by the school did not match the Christian values the school and church preached.

He also alleged that  teachers repeatedly turned up at his office and complained that they were either not paid on time or not paid at all.

Rev Hau claimed that non-payment of teachers was a big problem at the time. He said many teachers, including a number of Indians, left the school after repeated complaints about non-payment.

He said he believed these teachers did not go public or complaint to the government because they had agreed not to criticise or publicly raise any concerns about the school.

Rev Hau said he believed teachers’ pay was still a problem when he and his followers broke away two years ago.

Rev Hau said that while he was with the Tokaikolo Church he had advised the Board of Trustees to deregister the school for five to 10 years so the congregation could concentrate on paying off the multi-million dollar loan that was taken out to build their church in Mangere but his advice was ignored.

He said he made the advice because teachers were not often paid because the church made loan payments a priority. He said the bank was warned a number of times about late payments. Rev Hau was eventually removed from the board.

The Pacific Christian School will be closed down in two weeks with New Zealand’s Ministry of Education saying it was concerned to the safety of the 70 students enrolled with the school.

It has been revealed the Principal, Lisita Paongo, is not a trained teacher and only holds a Limited Authority to Teach – a temporary permit which limits her rights to teach at the school.

According to Rev Hau the school’s curriculum was based on a US syllabus which it had little relevance to students’ lives in New Zealand and according to a report from the New Zealand ERO it “did not support…the children language, culture and identity”.

This is the first time the ministry had suspended a private school’s registration in New Zealand.

The Pacific Christian School enrolls students in years one to eight. It is located on Coronation Rd in Mangere.

In June last year Police were called to the school after a 10-year-old boy was stabbed with  a pair of scissors by  another pupil. There have also been complaints about teachers hitting students and pupils claiming they were going to be whipped by staff.

The Education Ministry said every effort had been made to create a safer environment at the school. However, after a number of meetings the school was unable to assure the Ministry that they had systems in place for managing all aspects of providing a safe environment for students.

“We have taken into account a special review from the Education Office Review Report that has found a number of concerns remain, including the quality of teaching and learning and the welfare of students.  It recommended that we review the school’s licence,” a statement from the Ministry said.

Kaniva News and the Tokakailo church

Attempts by Kaniva News to contact the school and the church were unsuccessful.

Our staff were at the area yesterday trying to obtain information and take photos, but we were unable to enter the Tokaikolo property.

This was because Kaniva News was served with a trespass notices by the Tokaikolo Church in 2012 in retaliation for our revelation of allegations of chaos and strife within the church that led to the 2013 defection of most of the church members.

The main points

  • A South Auckland church leader claimed yesterday that corruption and malpractice was widespread at a private Christian school which has been ordered to close down by the government.
  • Rev Faka’osi Hau, one of the leaders of the new Mo’ui ‘Ia Kalaisi fellowship in South Auckland, made his allegations in the wake of revelations that the Pacific Christian School had been given a fortnight to close down and that its principal was not a registered teacher.
  • Rev Hau claimed that students’ marks had been altered and that teachers had not been paid.
  • He said that while working for the Tokaikolo church office he had repeatedly advised the school’s Board of Trustees to de-register the school.

For more information

Pacific Christian School principal not registered (Manukau Courier)

Private Christian school shut down (RNZI)

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