Topic: Kōhanga Reo

Native Affairs - Kōhanga Reo Trust Panel Discussion

By Mihingarangi Forbes

The first big issue of the night and of course was the most controversial story of the year, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.

A spat broke out between grass roots Kōhanga Reo and their governing body  earlier this year, after Mataatua and Tauranga Moana regions raised concerns about governance and spending at the Kōhanga Reo National Trust.

The firing of Kōhanga CEO, Titoki Black sparked the row that saw two rohe march to the doorstep of the Trust. Their concerns fell on deaf ears but Native Affairs decided to look into these issues.

This led to a special investigation into spending after Native Affairs obtained 15 months of credit card expenditure by two senior members of the Trust, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and her daughter in law Linda Tawhiwhirangi.

The Trust refused to answer our questions and instead took Native Affairs to court, they later abandoned  their legal action when it became clear they wouldn’t be successful.

Following our investigation, Education Minister Hekia Parata and Māori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples actioned an independent audit into the Trust.

The findings are due later this month.