Topic: Kōhanga Reo

Questions emerge following investigative report

By Maiki Sherman

Questions are emerging from all corners over the operations of the Kōhanga Reo National Trust, following an investigative piece aired by Native Affairs regarding the expenditure of the Trust's subsidiary company, Te Pātaka Ōhanga.

Today, executive members of the Kōhanga Reo National Trust were to arrive at Parliament at the request of ministers, Hekia Parata and Pita Sharples.  Essentially for a 'please explain' meeting, following reports of spending by the executives of monies supposedly for the children of the movement.

The Kōhanga Reo Trust says it's currently investigating a figure of about $10,000, in essence, the validity of such expenditure by some of its top tier.

Through the investigations by Native Affairs, Te Kāea can reveal new information regarding the expenditure by the Kōhanga Reo National Trust.

In a sworn statement, the chief executive of Te Kōhanga Reo revealed the Trust has a fleet of 38 cars and Te Pātaka Ōhanga, its private company, also has four cars.

Native Affairs understands that some of them are top of the line Holden vehicles.  All of the cars also come with fuel cards.  

Last year, the Trust and TPO spent $288,000 on motor vehicle expenses.

Each year, $80mil is directed from the Ministry of Education to the Kōhanga Reo Trust.  However, it seems even the Education Minister is confused as to how that funding is then used. 

Te Kōhanga Reo says Te Pātaka Ōhanga is a private entity.  However, that's being rejected by a high court judge, because he says it receives public monies. 

All of those issues have sparked questions as to the transparency of board members, members who are elected for life, an executive which does not come under the ruling authority of anyone including ministers.

Upon contact, Te Kāea was told that the executive board did not want to speak with Māori Television.