Stirring challenge for ‘accusers’
ACT politicians were impressed but unbowed on Monday after they met with Te Wananga o Aotearoa management and students.
Rodney Hide, Ken Shirley and Deborah Coddington were here at the invitation of Dr Rongo Wetere to visit the Wananga, meet the students and staff and discuss the issues that have shrouded the institution in controversy.
Waipa Mayor Alan Livingston, an official speaker at the gathering, said the Wananga had come a long way since its humble beginnings. “It is a special institution and it has taken education to the students.”
Other high powered guests included Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta Maori educationalist Pita Sharples, veteran activist Titewhai Harawira, former Hamilton Mayor Margaret Evans, kaumatua and iwi representatives.
Ken Shirley, the MP who has levelled most of the allegations in Parliament at the Wananga, said it was not his intention to close the Wananga down, but to ensure accountability.
Act leader Rodney Hide said his mind had not been changed by the visit. “I was impressed and honoured by the welcome, but we still need to address the core issues.”
Dr Wetere said stern words had been exchanged by the groups and time would show who was correct. “The time has come to move forward, I am not going anywhere,” said Dr Wetere when asked if he would resign. He said he could live with the appointment of Crown manager Brian Roche, who starts at the Wananga this week - taking control of the purse strings and reducing Dr Wetere’s role. His first job is to meet the Wananga council to decide on what direction to take.