Topic: Kōhanga Reo

Whistle-blower talks to Native Affairs

By Maiki Sherman

Toni Waho spent nine years at Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust before blowing the whistle over misspending allegations.

That led to his removal from the Board for bringing the Trust into disrepute.  A move he challenged in the High Court, but lost.

"The court of appeal has opened the avenue for me to go back to the high court and have my full case considered and that's where I'm going," Waho says.

His removal came following allegations of mismanagement being raised by the son of Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, who allegedly wanted an exit package for his wife Lynda Tawhiwhirangi who had been sacked as chief executive of Te Pātaka Ohanga.

"We had a very tight window because the board was about to go and meet the ministers so I explained to the board after seeking legal advice that I believed it would be wrong for us to go to the ministers without them knowing that we knew of this list of 8 pages."

It didn't work out.  So Toni Waho blew the whistle, and he was gone.  As for personal loans, Toni Waho says he has received one from TPO. 

"I've reflected on this and i do think it's not a good look, after reflection."

Toni Waho believes Kohanga Reo can survive without a board.  Native Affairs will air the full story tonight at 8.30pm.

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