Peggy’s last post and Kafka: Rangiora commissioner outrage continues

  1. Peggy’s last post:

I have decided this will be my last Facebook post about the ERA Settlement that as yet has not been paid to me by Mrs Moore.  I have, for the past two years endured bullying, loss, humiliation, significant financial hardship and trauma; and with the ERA Decision upholding my Wrongful Dismissal I thought this saga was finally over – but no, the subtle bullying continues.  What else would a 10 day delay in settlement be?

Not only was I not reinstated, now I have the humiliation of not receiving, in a timely manner, the settlement awarded to me.  The ERA determined that settlement was required by 9 February 2017.  Mrs Moore has chosen to defy that ruling and yet again she suffers no consequences for her total disregard for due process, legislation, direction, or compassion.

I want you to consider, as you read this post, what you would do if suddenly you were not living the life you chose for yourself?  What would you do if the life you spent thirty years building was appropriated by a stranger for absolutely no justification, not a tad?  I would like you to consider, if on one day, all that was familiar to you was taken from you without warning and without reason.  What would you do if one day you were earning $2000 a week and the next day you were earning nothing?  That is the reality for me.  Oh believe me, this is not about the money, it is about me – about everything I have worked for my entire life and everything I have sacrificed for others.  It is about the joy I took in serving others and my community.  It is about four people in our community who systematically set about to destroy me.  It was they who were the catalyst for this catastrophic series of events and the very real consequences, not just for me, but for my colleagues, students, Rangiora High School and our community.  I hope they are pleased with what they have accomplished, and that they think it was all worth it.

I am living a life now that I did not choose, a life very different to the one I spent my entire working life creating.  I am 57-years-old and I am having to begin again – it is daunting, to the point of being overwhelming – but it is achievable.

The one most important thing I want you to know before I promise not to talk about Mrs Moore and her theft of my life again is that she and those individuals who choose to behave as she does have exited 56 Principals over the past two years, in our education system.  These people have no educational qualifications but can remove professional people without fear of challenge.  Well no more.

I am proud that Richard Harrison and I achieved a win in the Employment Relations Authority because we achieved what so many other principals could not.  I am proud that Richard Harrison and Marlene Campbell achieved a similar win the Employment Court last year.  Together we have created important precedents and case law that others may use.

I intend to continue to pursue justice, not out of malice, spite or vitriol, but to ensure that there are very clear pathways for others to follow when they too find their professionalism, integrity, sense of self-worth and daily lives attacked by people who care little for truth or justice.

Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui


  1. Kiwi Kafka

This was a posting of a year ago: how right Kafka; how right to apply it.

The principal asked: ‘Why have you stopped talking to me?’

And the reply: ‘I don’t know what you’ve done. The commissioner is saying a whole lot of things.’

And there is the terrible Kafkan truth of it:

The principal had done something, that was now a given; that it was something pretty wrong, was also a given; how serious that wrong was, no one could be sure; but it must have been something serious or why was she suspended? And there was that thing on TVNZ about financial mismanagement and no clarification or denial, all very dodgy. That was the situation of helpless horror a New Zealand woman – a distinguished professional woman, a wife, mother, and grandmother – lived in for months. Guilty of something unnamed, largely bereft of support, and unable to respond. Things have picked up a bit for her, but they are still dire.

The Trial by Kafka acts as a secular bible for me; the final paragraph has the innocent Josef K. being made to die – to die, as one of the participants observed, ‘Like a dog! … It was as if the shame would outlive him.’ [The version referred to is Penguin Modern Classics, 2015.] In New Zealand, dozens of principals, just as innocent in behaviour, have their vocations made to die, ‘Like a dog!’ with the shame to outlive them. And the principal of Kiwi School is on the brink of just such a vocational death.

The first sentence in The Trial begins with: ‘Somebody must have made a false accusation against Josef K. for he was arrested one morning without having done anything wrong.’

This posting could well begin with: ‘Somebody must have made a false accusation against a New Zealand principal for she was threatened one day with a series of wrongdoing when she had done nothing wrong’ … indeed, was a brilliant principal, highly respected, and could be seen to have done a power of good.

It is an understanding of this posting that organisations should be viewed as having minds, and in having these, the ability to develop organisational narratives on matters large and the small, sometimes to devastating effect on individual rights and freedoms. It is the organisational mind that allows the education bureaucracies to act with such singularity and cruelty, enabling individuals to do terrible things in the name of the organisation they wouldn’t otherwise contemplate as individuals.

I know a long quote tempts the reader to skip over, but I earnestly request you read the following

paragraph quoted unchanged from The Trial, first published in 1925. The questions I place in your mind as you read: Is this not an exact description of how the ministry works today? and, if so, what are we to do about it?

Josef K. is advised that (p. 96):

‘The only right thing to do was to come to terms with circumstances as they were. Even if it were possible to rectify certain details – but that was just a senseless delusion – the best one could hope for would be to achieve something for the benefit of future cases, but that would be at the expense of doing oneself immeasurable harm through attracting the particular attention of a bureaucracy which was always vengeful. Just never attract attention! One had to keep quiet, even when this went against the grain! And try to see that this great legal organism was always in a state of equilibrium, so to speak, and that anyone who independently made an alteration in his own area would be cutting the ground from under his feet and could come coming crashing down, while the great organism itself compensated for a slight disturbance by easily producing a replacement at another point – everything was after all connected – and remained unchanged, assuming it did not become (and this was probable) even more secretive, even more observant, even more severe, even more malevolent’.

The following quote is one of my all-time favourites (pp. 116-117):

‘That still needs a bit of work,’ answered the court painter, and he took a pastel from a side-table and sketched with it round the edges of the figure, but K. found it no clearer. ‘It’s Justice,’ said the painter at last. ‘Ah, now I recognise it,’ said K., ‘here’s the bandage over the eyes and these are the scales. But aren’t these wings on the ankles and isn’t that a figure running?’ ‘Yes’, said the painter,’ I was commissioned to paint like that. Actually it is Justice and the goddess of Victory in one.’ That’s hardly a good combination,’ said K. with a smile. ‘Justice has to be motionless or the scales will waver and there’s no possibility of a correct judgement.’ ‘I’m only following the instructions of the person who commissioned me,’ said the painter.

[And then followed many instances of Kafkan horror.]

The Kafkan power of the education system intervention process is such that there is rarely a genuine problem beyond that manufactured by the intervention process itself, meaning that those complaining only need to keep complaining for the intervention process to produce the Kafkan situation of irrationality so deviously favourable to their ends. Once the intervention is in place, the question becomes not what the problem was, but whether the principal is perfect in every respect? And the principal, no matter how insignificant the imperfection revealed or how irrelevant to the initial ‘problem’, is always caught out, and much is made of that, and is a goner. After all, those making the judgement are those arrayed against the principal from the beginning. It seems the advice given by a character in Kafka should have been heeded: ‘The only right thing to do was to come to terms with the circumstances as they were.’ As such principals should ready themselves to have their vocations made to die ‘Like a dog!’ with the shame to outlive them.

The institutionalised lying, the organisation for cheating, and in this case, the endemic bullying – it’s the system stupid.

  1. Though the Facebook posting above was described as being Peggy’s last, that situation couldn’t be sustained because of further outrageous behaviour by the commissioner. 

Hekia Parata lets it roll on, failing to answer Chris Hipkins’ question yesterday.

I know exactly what the commissioner is up to here and warn her about it, she is in enough trouble as it is. However, Moore, it is up to you and your sponsors, be the guest of the gathering storm that, by your continuing wrong, reckless, and immoral actions, is ultimately bound to embroil others. Now who might they be? 

Peggy writes in her Facebook:

It is extremely challenging to put your life back together after it has been so thoroughly disrupted.  It takes courage!

So can anyone explain to me why the commissioner of Rangiora High School wrote to the New Zealand Teachers’ Council on the 7th of February 2017 alleging financial misconduct by the ex-principal? Yes I accept she had to make a mandatory report to the NZTC in 2016 when she dismissed me – that is the law. But when I WON unfair dismissal in the ERA the NZTC had no further reason to consider the matter of my Teacher Registration.

So why have allegations been forwarded to the NZTC – but not to me – by the commissioner?  Is it something in her nature that pushes her on to hurt?

The commissioner is playing games with my life. What she fails to realise is that every time she acts with such malice, not only does it affect me, but it affects my husband, my daughters, my grandchildren and my friends. It is unacceptable that a woman appointed by the minister of education can behave in this unprofessional manner.

I will say again – if I had done ANYTHING that was less than honest with regard to the nearly $20M I was responsible for as principal of Rangiora High School, I would have been arrested. Michael Rondel, an Accountant with BDO, commented in his Specialist Advisor’s Report in November 2014 that he found nothing but best practice by the principal – he did however identify less than best practice with the Board’s processes for supporting the principal and meeting their obligations for good governance.

Let me remind the commissioner, NOTHING she raised about my financial management during the ERA hearing held water; NOTHING she raised was worthy of comment!  Her allegations were thrown out! And yet still this individual persists.

Unfortunately for the commissioner, I am no longer gagged by her! I no longer work for her! I will no longer sit silently by and allow her to continue to bully me, because surely this meets the definition of bullying.

If the ERA jurisdiction is not important enough for the commissioner, or was not clear enough in its determination for her, then perhaps we will need to find a jurisdiction that is able to make it absolutely clear to her that she may not use her position and the community’s resources to carry on her vendetta against me.
Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui



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8 Responses to Peggy’s last post and Kafka: Rangiora commissioner outrage continues

  1. 111peggyb says:

    There are some true Heroes and Champions in Education – fearless in their fight for justice and the rights of our children! Thank you Kelvin Smythe.

  2. Phil T says:

    Its an utter bloody disgrace what this woman has got up to. Not a single bit of integrity or respect for the rule of law or the employment dispute process. Its is very obviously to try and retain some credibility for what she has done and the huge amounts of the schools monies she has wasted but enough is enough and this should be actioned and a gagging order placed on Mrs Moore

  3. Paul says:

    It is the reality of Principalship today – that more and more is exoected with less and less support and the ever hanging threat that a simple mistake or a desire for ‘sorting you out’ can lead to your career being at an end and even worse at and end under an undeserved cloud.

    Schools right now are often hanging on by the skin of their teeth based on the tireless efforts of Principals and Teachers who keep putting their fingers in the dyke of poverty, lack of resourcing and worst of all a lack of respect and support from our leaders.

    Hekia’s statement a couple of weeks ago aroun Principals stress and that ‘they chose the job’ showed this perfectly. Not a thank you, not a sign of help, not a sign of empthay, or care. Instead, distain and critque.

    Basically its about a lack of fairness and kindness even before due process and employment law.

  4. Pippa Wright says:

    Peggy. You are one amazing woman to survive this horrendous prolonged attack on your person . To then feel able or have the strength to “continue to pursue justice, not out of malice, spite or vitriol, but to ensure that there are very clear pathways for others to follow when they too find their professionalism, integrity, sense of self-worth and daily lives attacked by people who care little for truth or justice.” is something I thank you for from the bottom of my heart. Kia kaha … does not really cut it!

    • Kelvin says:

      Kia ora Kelvin

      I was absolutely horrified when I read Peggy’s last post. What a dreadful thing to have happened, and frighteningly how easily it was executed. It is daunting that 56 principals have been chillingly exited in the same fashion.

      I certainly hope that Peggy does receive well deserved justice and that the ERA’s findings are urgently upheld [in fact, the commissioner is, if she doesn’t capitulate, being taken to a regular court on very serious charges].

      [The correspondent gave detail of the fight she had.]

      Please pass on to Peggy my sincere best wishes and for to continue to hold her head up high. . She will come back and life will be great again, in fact better than great, after the terrible trauma she has been forced to endure. Please also suggest to Peggy to sing and keep singing Helen Reddy’s song…”I am Woman” which I used to bellow to the heavens during long walks on the beach to reset my equilibrium. Worked wonders!

      [I have received a number of emails from women saying they have found Peggy’s courage and example inspiring.]

      • Kelvin says:

        Phil who writes Australia’s leading education website writes:

        Best wishes and warm support for your friends, Kelvin….and a big ‘onya’ for you.


  5. Kelvin says:

    From a Wellington teacher:

    Hi Kelvin, very pleased to hear about the legal proceedings. It’s time commissioners were held to account.

    Hope you are well

  6. Kelvin says:

    One of my favourite Auckland correspondents wrote:

    The defamation case is very persuasive! Great news!

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