Topic: Kōhanga Reo

Serious allegations made by Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board Member against Board's Co-Chair

By Maiki Sherman

Serious allegations have been made by Toni Waho, a board member of the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust board against Tina Olsen-Ratana, the co-chair of the National Trust Board itself.

In a statement of claim from Mr Waho presented in the High Court, Mr Waho alleges that Tina Olsen-Ratana misused her position as co-chair of the Trust by:

- Actively preventing the proper investigation of the Trust's commercial arm, Te Pataka Ohanga
- Misleading the responsible Ministers of the Crown in relation to those allegations
- Misleading the Serious Fraud Office in relation to those allegations
- Misleading the public in relation to those allegations
- Attempting to cover up or preventing the Trust and Te Pataka Ohanga from dealing with those allegations and,
- Failing to actively investigate allegations of wrongdoing against the Trust and/or Te Pataka Ohanga.

These are very serious allegations that delve in to the heart of the Serious Fraud Office investigation which was initiated by the Minister of Education, following investigations undertaken by Māori Television.

Both the National Trust and Mrs Tina Olsen-Ratana deny these claims and others in their statement of defence in the High Court.  

The Trust and Mrs Olsen-Ratana sought to prevent access to this claim by Mr Waho, but a legal representative for Māori Television sought to have access to these statements, and these were made available by the High Court Judge at the hearing today.

In today’s hearing in the High Court, Mr Tony Waho's application for an injunction sought to stop the other board members of the Trust removing him as a Trustee.  This was opposed by the Trust.  The Judge has reserved his decision.

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