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Message from Michael Rondel our new Commissioner to the Ko Taku Reo Community

27 Sep 2022

To Parents, Whānau, Caregivers, Staff, Students and Supporters of Ko Taku Reo tēnā koutou and warm greetings.

Today the Ministry of Education has confirmed that, as a new Board has not been able to be established from the recent election process, I have been appointed as Commissioner to Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand (Ko Taku Reo). I wanted to introduce myself and let you know more about the appointment and role of a Commissioner and what this means for Ko Taku Reo.

The appointment of a Commissioner is an action taken by the Secretary for Education under Section 181 of the Education and Training Act 2020 for a variety of reasons. The key purpose is to ensure there is strong governance so that teaching and learning is not negatively impacted.

A Commissioner is responsible for addressing any governance, operations, welfare or educational performance issues and – importantly – setting the school up for a return to strong and sustainable self-governance by a Board.

In this case the Board contacted the Ministry and asked for assistance with a range of governance-related matters and, in particular, with support as an elected Board could not be established through the recent election process.

The Minister decided that the best pathway to address the issues is by appointing a Commissioner. This appointment means that the Board has been dissolved and, as Commissioner, I am now responsible for all governance matters in the school and hold all the functions, powers and duties of the Board, including as the employer of staff.

If you would like more information about statutory interventions, including the appointment of a Commissioner, there is some useful information on the Ministry of Education website at the following link:

It is important to note that my appointment as Commissioner does not change the day-to-day operation of the school. The Executive Principal and Leadership team remain responsible for the management of all operational aspects of Ko Taku Reo. Students should not notice any differences in their various education pathways, with teaching and learning programmes being unchanged.

One of my first tasks as Commissioner is to confirm that our Executive Principal James Le Marquand has announced his resignation, with his last day being Friday 18 November 2022. As he has mentioned in his update today, the timing of this with my appointment is purely coincidental and I am grateful for his support as I take up this role.

At a later date we will thank James appropriately for his service, and in the coming weeks I will update you with the next steps in our recruitment process, as well as ensuring we have seamless continuity of leadership for Ko Taku Reo.

Some of you may know that I have been a Limited Statutory Manager at Ko Taku Reo for the past four years, responsible for Finance and Property governance. During this time, I have worked closely with the Board and Executive leadership.

By way of a brief introduction about myself, I am married with three children aged 21, 19 and 14. I am a Chartered Accountant by profession, however, I have considerable governance and change management experience, especially in schools and the wider education sector. I have previously been involved in several statutory interventions in schools, including as a Commissioner. I live in Christchurch but travel to Auckland, and around New Zealand, frequently and as needed.

As Commissioner I am looking forward to working closely with the Executive and Senior Leadership Teams to ensure that the school continues to operate effectively and remains focussed on the teaching and learning outcomes being achieved for all students.

I am committed to ensuring that the matters that have given rise to my appointment are addressed so that Ko Taku Reo can move back to self-governance and the election of a new Board as soon as is appropriate.

I want to also thank the outgoing Board for their hard work over the course of their term. It is a challenging time for Deaf Education and there is much work to be done.

I intend to establish an Advisory Group as soon as practicable to assist me with being informed when making governance decisions for Ko Taku Reo. I hope that this Group will include some current parents and staff as well as those who have served on the school Board in the past.

I would also like to have a Student Advisory Group established so that there is a clear process for our learners to have their needs and wishes communicated to myself and to any future Board.

I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming months as we work together to take Ko Taku Reo – Deaf Education New Zealand into an exciting future.

Ngā mihi nui,
Michael Rondel