Enquiry over kōhanga credit card misuse

Over the last 20 years, a billion tax payer dollars have been directed to the Kōhanga Reo movement.  

For seven weeks, Native Affairs has investigated allegations of financial mismanagement at the very top of the Kōhanga Reo movement, and during that time, the Kōhanga Reo National Trust has refused to answer questions about what it is doing with taxpayer money meant for mokopuna.

A cry from a Kōhanga Reo teacher due to allegations of inappropriate spending of money at the top.

Its directors are Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Druis Barrett and Te Wharehuia Milroy.  Lynda Tawhiwhirangi is the general manager.

Its objective is to enhance the social benefits of the Kōhanga Reo movement, in other words to help children in the learning of Te Reo Māori.

Lynda Tawhiwhirangi used her company credit card to purchase her daughter’s wedding dress; she withdrew out $1000 as a koha for a hui she didn't attend, to buy a Trelise Cooper dress at the value of $800.

Her response was, her daughter forgot her credit card, she still has the $1000 koha in a safe and she used her card by mistake and has returned the money.

The trust's credit card rules forbid personal spending, but in a sworn statement Chief Executive Angus Hartley said although TPO staffs are aware of that TPO itself has no formal credit card policy.  Those who run kōhanga believe spending at the top has crossed the line.