The Kōhanga Reo National Trust

October 15th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

report:

Over the last 20 years, 1 billion taxpayer dollars has been directed towards Kōhanga Reo. 

For seven weeks has investigated allegations of financial mismanagement by some at the very top of the Kōhanga Reo movement.

For seven weeks the Kōhanga Reo National Trust has refused to answer our questions about how it’s managing taxpayer money meant for mokopuna.

Not only did it refuse to answer the questions raised by our investigation, it went to the High Court to try and stop us broadcasting our report.

On Wednesday the Trust backed down, but by taking court action, Trust officials were ordered to make sworn statements about the spending.  Those affidavits raise serious questions about the use of public funds and they’re contained in our report.

Native Affairs pursued this story because the Kōhanga Reo Movement is recognised as one of the single most powerful forces in reviving te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. 

30 years ago, the Kōhanga Reo Movement sowed its first seed at Pukeatua near Wellington.  From there language nests spread reigniting our peoples passion to regenerate our native tongue.

Not only did the language nests provide learning, Kōhanga often double as a place of refuge for our tamariki, a place where they can be fed kept warm and nourished.  

Last month Native Affairs reported how the Trust has $13mil in the bank while Kōhanga Reo around the country struggle to get by.  How the Trust extends personal loans to its staff and directors.

This special report takes us further into the personal expenditure of two people at the top of the Kōhanga Trust and its wholly-owned subsidiary,Te Pātaka Ōhanga.

They are Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and her daughter in-law, Lynda Tawhiwhirangi.

It details spending never normally seen by anyone outside the Kōhanga elite.  The records cover only a 15-month period – it’s a snapshot of what appears to be a culture of extravagance.

Bravo to Maori TV for fine investigative journalism and not allowing legal threats to stop them.

The well financed trust has a self-perpetuating board, with effective life-time appointments. This has no doubt led to a culture of entitlement and a lack of recognition about the boundaries between trust and personal finances.

The Herald reports some details:

Two leaders of a state-funded organisation whose objective is to help children learn te reo Maori have been accused of using charity credit cards for personal spending, including on a wedding dress and gifts.

Ministers said last night they would meet the over allegations raised in a Native Affairs investigation into the spending by board member Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and daughter-in-law Lynda Tawhiwhirangi.

The Maori Television show detailed thousands of dollars of spending, including Lynda Tawhiwhirangi’s purchase of a wedding dress for her daughter in 2011, a Trelise Cooper dress in 2012, and withdrawals that included $1000 for a hui that she did not attend.

The women defended their spending in sworn affidavits as either justified purchases or genuine mistakes.

Lynda Tawhiwhirangi, who is the general manager of the trust’s charity-status subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga (TPO), said the $1000 koha was still in a safe, and she had repaid the money for the dresses later.

An educational trust is not a bank for personal loans.

Tags: , ,

30 Responses to “The Kōhanga Reo National Trust”

  1. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Smoke=Fire…

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Chuck Bird (4,668 comments) says:

    I think it would be fitting if they torn their credit cards up on Maori TV.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. tvb (4,199 comments) says:

    There are just so many of these stories where people in positions of trust are given a wide opportunity to abuse that trust

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. dave_c_ (214 comments) says:

    If these allegations re true, this is further justification (ammunition) for enforcing the treatment of everyone as equals – no specific funding for any reason to organisations representing one ethnic group .

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. gump (1,474 comments) says:

    Is it necessary for these people to have credit cards?

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    Is this the same Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi on the charter schools authorisation board?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. jawnbc (44 comments) says:

    It’s been an excellent and troubling series of reports. I think it’s awesome that Māori media aren’t afraid to ask tough questions of programmes and services in Māoridom. Shining a spotlight on this all should help clear up the mess. But the language nests themselves are important–to all New Zealanders.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. wf (372 comments) says:

    . . . . not surprised.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Richard Hurst (754 comments) says:

    According to Maori TV they gave them 11 separate chances to put their side of the story before broadcasting- not one of those opportunities was taken up- all Maori TV got was legal threats…. “Smoke=Fire’?- more like a massive blaze seen for miles

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Paulus (2,496 comments) says:

    Good one for Maori Television.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    “But the language nests themselves are important–to all New Zealanders.”

    No , they are not. They are unimportant to me and my family and I’m sure I speak for many Kiwis on that matter.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    Would be a serious issue except that this is probably the only way that money could ever have ended up being put to good use.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9283967/Kohanga-Reo-Trusts-credit-card-use-questioned

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Colville (2,069 comments) says:

    Amazing.
    Maori speaking out against Maori wrongdoing is fucking rare!

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Harriet (4,502 comments) says:

    “…..Over the last 20 years, 1 billion taxpayer dollars has been directed towards Kōhanga Reo….”

    Fuck me….that’s 50mil a year….about a 1mil a week!

    How many weeks do kids go to school a year?

    Your probably looking at $300,000 a day.

    How many kids are learning this stuff?

    What are the results?

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. peterwn (3,148 comments) says:

    There was a grizzle years ago that while the Government granted them money, they loaned it to individual Reo’s rather than sub-granting it. This in itself seemed suspicious.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Maori speaking out against Maori wrongdoing is fucking rare!

    Not really. Maori Television is one of the few places in NZ where proper journalism is still being done.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Redbaiter (7,559 comments) says:

    “proper journalism”

    Haw haw, yeah, you’d know.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Redbaiter (7,559 comments) says:

    Why don’t you commies address the real issue- that is National and Labour’s embrace of separatism, and government cuddling up to the concept of tribalism. Its not only behind this issue its behind so many similar issues.

    So called Maoris can have their false race, and their out dated and destructive tribalism, and their “businesses”, and their bogus trusts, and their bullshit TV station, but they should have it without any help from government or the long suffering taxpayer.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. RRM (9,434 comments) says:

    WHAT??!?

    Maori ™ elites caught with their hand in the till, rorting (if not outright robbing) the taxpayer funded system for personal gain?

    Surely not! That never happens.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. wreck1080 (3,726 comments) says:

    This is brilliant work — the maoris now have a well entrenched class system – where those at the top seem appointed for life and can get away with whatever.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. RRM (9,434 comments) says:

    Lynda Tawhiwhirangi, who is the general manager of the trust’s charity-status subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga (TPO), said the $1000 koha was still in a safe, and she had repaid the money for the dresses later.

    LOL, that reminds me of when Tuku Morgan got caught rorting the maori Tv on-air clothing allowance to buy up large on $80 pairs of boxer shorts. And then apologised sincerely to the House for getting caught.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. mikenmild (10,630 comments) says:

    Kudos to Maori TV, becoming more and more the de facto national TV channel.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Tom Barker (102 comments) says:

    Happily, the sums involved appear quite modest compared with those for which John Banks is now facing questions in court.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Sam Buchanan (502 comments) says:

    “this is further justification (ammunition) for enforcing the treatment of everyone as equals – no specific funding for any reason to organisations representing one ethnic group .”

    If Maori TV hadn’t been funded we’d probably never have found out about this. It’s not as if funding to ‘acultural’ groups never gets ripped off.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Longknives (4,414 comments) says:

    Is anybody even remotely surprised?
    No doubt they will try to justify it with the usual ‘Pakeha just don’t understand the Maori way’ bullshit…
    If the Government had any balls they would immediately cease funding to all these parasitic thieving criminals, bit hey, we all know it will be quickly swept under the carpet and forgotten about…

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. SHG (362 comments) says:

    @wreck1080 said

    This is brilliant work — the maoris now have a well entrenched class system – where those at the top seem appointed for life and can get away with whatever.

    Welcome to Aotearoa, you must be new here.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Dazzaman (1,123 comments) says:

    More troughers & swindlers, they all do it. Tony Marryatt anyone? Haha, even that old-money pin up boy Doug Graham.

    Lynch those Marri bitches though…..

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. RRM (9,434 comments) says:

    And here is your Maori culture lesson for today, children….

    Maui & the Sun

    Māui takes the jaw-bone of his ancestress Muri-ranga-whenua and uses it as a weapon in his first expedition. This is to snare the Sun and make it go slower because the days were too short for people to get their work done. With the help of his brothers, Māui nooses the Sun and beats him severely with the jaw-bone club until the Sun promises to go slower in future.

    Moral of this story: Bash people until they agree to do what you want!

    Maui & the secret of fire

    Māui, finding that fire has been lost on the earth, resolves to find Mahuika the Fire-goddess and learn the secret art of obtaining fire. He visits her but his tricks make her furious and, although he obtains the secret of fire, he barely escapes with his life.

    Moral of this story: If someone’s got something you want, just take it!

    And this one is quite topical at the moment:

    Maui fishes up the North Island

    His next exploit is to haul up land from the depth of the ocean—here he again uses the jaw-bone, this time as a fish-hook. Māui, using blood from his nose for bait, hauls the great fish up from the depths. When it emerges from the water Māui goes to find a priest to perform the appropriate ceremonies and prayers, leaving his brothers in charge of the fish. They, however, do not wait for Māui to return but begin to cut up the fish (to grab their share), which immediately begins to writhe in agony, causing it to break up into mountains, cliffs and valleys.

    Moral of this story: Every man for himself. Take whatever you can get.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Manolo (13,339 comments) says:

    It’s called looting and pillaging Stone Age style. Times have changed, the old ways have not.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.