Claims of unethical treatment of Māori staff and students at Northtec

By Dean Nathan

Māori staff and students are leaving Northtec Taitokerau Wānanga over issues of unethical treatment.  A formal complaint is currently before the Northtec council with three similar complaints laid with the Ombudsman in the past year.

Kim Ellice is one of three former students from Kaitaia who laid formal complaints with the Ombudsman in the past year.

She says, "We made complaints surrounding certain tutors that are here at Northtec and are still here at Northtec and our complaints were basically because we were being bullied during the process of our interviews while they would come to Kaitaia and they wouldn't sign off on our placements.  And we took it to the level of the ombudsman and we took it to that level about 8 months after we made our original complaints."

Kaikohe Northtec campus student Shamwari Civil is over having to wait an extra year to graduate with a Bachelor of Social Services.

"I ended up having a baby in the middle of last year and I had gone to see Northtec see if they could work around it or if I should take the year off last year but they said they could work around it.  So I met all my sides of the responsibility and they sort of didn't meet their end of the bargain. I ended up not graduating with my class which is what my complaint is about."

The Chief Executive Officer of Northtec was not available to speak in person with Te Kāea but in a statement, Mark Ewen said the cases before the ombudsmen are confidential and not to be discussed in a public domain but he considers them closed.  

There are another two formal complaints by staff currently before the Northtec Council regarding the unethical treatment of Māori staff and students.  Civil says other students at the Kaikohe campus are wanting to know how to go about laying formal complaints.

"Their placements are being mucked up, tutors not being at class and just getting mucked around. They just feel that they're not getting their money worth and their careers and their lives are getting mucked around by Northtec."

Ellice adds, "I know that they have an international support group and they have a tutor solely for that but there's not one for Māori.  So where is that considering this is in the Northland. That's my major question, wheres the support for Māori?"