The 37-year-old manager of a Napier skatepark has resigned after the city council learned he had been in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old patron.
Pat McIvor quit as manager of Sk8Zone this week, having been involved with the council-owned park since it began in 1994.
He was employed by the Napier Skating Club, which receives council funding. Club chairman Peter Browne said yesterday he had only recently become aware of the relationship, and accepted McIvor's resignation on Monday.
"While the girl was 16, the club cannot be seen to condone such behaviour as it does not fit with our code of ethics, or what we'd expect from any youth worker."
When contacted yesterday, McIvor acknowledged the relationship but said it was not the reason he resigned.
"I've been here for 20 years, forever, so it's just that thing of, you know, it's time to move on," he said.
When asked if there had been concerns about his relationship with a 16-year-old, he said: "Yeah, there was a bit of an issue" but that was not the reason he left.
He was no longer in the relationship, he said. He denied being asked to resign by the club.
"The other thing that's been really stressful is there's a lot of development, like Sk8Zone is possibly going because they [the council] are building a new skatepark and stuff."
Council community development manager Antoinette Campbell said the council also became aware of McIvor's relationship only recently and asked the club to investigate.
"The council and the Napier Skating Club would like to assure parents and children that the Sk8Zone will continue its operation under a new temporary manager and all steps will be taken to ensure the ongoing safety of our patrons," Campbell said.
The Dominion Post understands police were informed and have investigated the matter but no charges were laid.
In a recent post on the Sportsground website, McIvor said he looked forward to the park's 20th anniversary celebration this Sunday.
"Napier Skating Club, which was established way back in 1937, has always had high standards, full of high-achieving, creative individuals, full of energy & passion, world leaders in their chosen sport, with the aim to have the best facility possible for all to enjoy," he wrote.
The code of ethics for youth work in Aotearoa New Zealand states that "sexual acts between youth workers and young people they connect with in their capacity as a youth worker are never acceptable", and "youth workers will not enter into a romantic relationship with a young person during the time they are working together".
Browne said the skating club would hold an emergency meeting tonight and was "taking this matter very seriously".
"We look forward to continuing to work with the Napier City Council positively and to assisting with the development of a new skatepark on Marine Parade."
- The Dominion Post