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Auckland Grammar: Mother disgruntled with enrolment zone clash protests outside school

Editor Written by Editor · 2 min read >


A mother disgruntled with Auckland Grammar School has begun protesting outside after it refused to enrol her son, despite him living in-zone.

Hillary Au-Yeung shared her story with the Herald this morning, saying she could not understand why the elite school had declined her son’s application while her older son already attended.

She went to the Ministry of Education for help. The ministry backed her and directed the school to accept her boy. However, the school contested this decision.

With her son already having spent a month without schooling while waiting to be enrolled, Au-Yeung has now begun picketing outside the school gates. She stood defiant when the Herald visited her outside Auckland Grammar on Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

Hillary Au-Yeung protests in front of Auckland Grammar School, saying "they've delayed this for a month now and I'm still waiting". Photo / Alex Burton
Hillary Au-Yeung protests in front of Auckland Grammar School, saying “they’ve delayed this for a month now and I’m still waiting”. Photo / Alex Burton

She thought the school’s refusal to enrol her son was unfair, and she travelled from overseas to confront the school herself. She waited in the school’s office for hours this earlier week hoping for a resolution.

“I don’t know why they declined my son. What shall I do? They’ve delayed this for over a month now, and I’m still waiting,” she said.

Au-Yeung, a New Zealand citizen, lives and works in Hong Kong while her two sons live in Auckland, in-zone for Auckland Grammar. Her sons are living with their grandfather in a property she owns.

She claims, however, Auckland Grammar told her it wouldn’t enrol her younger son because he wasn’t living with a legal guardian.

Hillary Au-Yeung protests in front of Auckland Grammar School after it refused to enrol her son, despite him living in-zone and having an older brother already attending the state college. Photo / Alex Burton
Hillary Au-Yeung protests in front of Auckland Grammar School after it refused to enrol her son, despite him living in-zone and having an older brother already attending the state college. Photo / Alex Burton

“But all other schools, and the Ministry of Education, they recognise [his] grandfather as a qualified legal guardian,” Au-Yeung said.

“And my elder son, he’s studying in seventh form [Year 13] currently, and he’s living with this grandfather as well. But they accepted his application before, three years ago, so why not enrol my younger son?”

She said her son waited at school on Monday morning, expecting to have his first day.

“And when I came, I saw he was not so happy. He’s feeling very unhappy. So I let him skip [yesterday] and I waited there without him,” she said.

The Grammar catchment needs a new primary school as more families move into the city centre. Photo / NZME
The Grammar catchment needs a new primary school as more families move into the city centre. Photo / NZME

“I just don’t know why the enrolment is so complicated and cannot proceed. I would prefer my younger son to study at the same school as my other son.

“This is the key reason [I want him enrolled there], and also the school’s reputation is very good. This is why I bought a property [in-zone].”

Au-Yeung paid about $500,000 for the property when she first enrolled her eldest son three years ago.

In a statement, Auckland Grammar said the school’s enrolment process met the requirements of the Education Act.

“[The school] applies enrolment guidelines consistently for all prospective in-zone enrolments for the purposes of equity of access and transparency.

However, “the school does not comment on individual applications”.

Raphael Franks is an Auckland-based reporter who covers breaking news. He joined the Herald as a Te Rito cadet in 2022.



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