Tokaikolo church appeals order to close down its controversial south Auckland school

The Tokaikolo Church in South Auckland has appealed the order by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to close down its Pacific Christian School.

The Ministry ordered the school to close its doors on September 25.

Kaniva News has seen a  circular letter passed around kava clubs in South Auckland last week asking kava drinkers to sign it. The  letter is addressed to the Minister of Education and purports to be signed by parents of children  at the Pacific Christian School.

The first line of the letter which was dated the 16 of  September is quoted verbatim below:

“We (parents) of Pacific Christian School are hereby address our petition toward your ministry (MOE) decision regarding suspension of Pacific Christian School to be effective on the 25th of Sebtember 2015”.

We have received complaints that many of those who signed the letter did not send their children to the Pacific Christian School and did not understand the truths behind matters raised in the letter.

One person wrote on the Kaniva News Facebook page and asked us if we could explain to him why the Tokaikolo school had been closed. He said he and his family had been approached by two Tokaikolo ministers and asked to sign the letter.

The letter, which is again quoted verbatim below, listed what it said were the Tokaikolo school’s concerns about the government’s order:

  • The approach of suspension is very immediate.
  • The time of suspension is very critical.
  • We don’t want our children to go to state schools.
  • We want our children to be in a Christian school but Pacific Christian School is the best school for our children.
  • The financial requirements to enrol in another Christian school will not be affordable at this time.
  • This is the last term and the very short term of the year where our children is [sic] looking forward to receive [sic] their final results and reports, Surely they will never assess [sic] rightly in another school at this time.

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Melino Maka, the Chair of the Tonga Advisory Council in Auckland said he believed the appeal was a waste of time.

He said the Education Review Office and Police had already given the Tokaikolo school enough opportunities since June 2014 to avoid any decision that would affect the school, but the school’s management had failed to take the situation seriously.

Maka worked closely with the school last year after a student was stabbed with a pair of scissors by another student.

Maka said one of the main problems he could see while working with the school was that the Board of Trustees did not understand its core role was to make the final decisions and make sure the school abided by the Ministry’s rules and requirements.

He said he advised the school board to work together with Tongans at the Ministry of Education so they could help them follow the demands outlined by the Education Review Office in its letter of compliance.

Maka said he felt the board did not welcome the idea. Instead they hired a palangi who was operating a Christian school in Auckland as their consultant.

“That was fine, but they should have shown the ERO and the Ministry of Education they had a good sense of relationship and wanted to co-operate and work diligently with the Ministry,” Maka said.

“That’s the only way they had to be  fakatokilalo (humble) and show the Ministry they took what they demanded seriously in order for them to get back their license to operate the school.”

He said it would take until December 18 before the Ministry decided whether or not the license to operate the school was restored or terminated for good.

The Tokaikolo church could not be reached for comments.

The main points

  • The Tokaikolo Church in South Auckland has appealed the order by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to close down its Pacific Christian School.
  • Kaniva News has seen a circular letter passed around kava clubs in South Auckland last week. The letter is addressed to the Minister of Education and purports to be signed by parents of children at the Pacific Christian School.
  • We have received complaints that many of those who signed the letter did not send their children to the Pacific Christian School and did not understood the truths behind matters raised in the letter.
  • The Tokaikolo church could not be reach for comments.

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