School delays tribunal action

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2013

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A Christchurch Maori school has put the brakes on a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal over its proposed merger to avoid "rocking the boat".

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori Te Whanau Tahi lodged a complaint in September with the tribunal over its planned merger with Te Kura Whakapumau Te Reo Tuturu Ki Waitaha.

It claimed the merger breached several Treaty of Waitangi principles.

The merger was announced in September under a raft of Ministry of Education changes that could see 13 Canterbury schools closed and 26 put through some form of merger.

Te Whanau Tahi board of trustees chairman Huata Martindale said the school had asked the tribunal to put the claim on hold last year.

It wants to wait until after Education Minister Hekia Parata's decision on the merger and does not want to "rock the boat too much".

"We know that [the claim] is a good option, but maybe we were a bit speedy. At the end of the day, the ministry has breached articles of the Treaty," Martindale said.

The school would pursue a claim with the tribunal only if the ministry pushed ahead with the merger, he said.

A spokesman said the tribunal did not have any registered claims relating to Te Whanau Tahi.

Many schools affected by the proposals have opposed them, saying the ministry did not properly consult before making the announcement.

After the announcement, schools had 10 weeks to return submissions to the ministry.

Parata will announce her decisions on the restructuring on February 18.

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- The Press

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