Topic: Kōhanga Reo

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust back in Parliament to discuss new governance structure

By Maiki Sherman
  • Wellington

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust was back at Parliament and although the reason for that was to make a submission on the Māori Language Bill, the creation of its new governance structure was the focus by the time they left.

You could say the National Trust's submission on the Māori Language Bill was hijacked by Hekia Parata who issued a press release as board members appeared before the Māori Affairs Select Committee.

According to the release, the board met with Hekia Parata and Te Ururoa Flavell last night where they laid out their plan to resolve the issues.

The last time the National Trust was at Parliament it was over in-house problems.

As the board made its submission over the Māori Language Bill today, it was those same issues that were dragged back up by the Education Minister.

The board members are still refusing to talk, though not to ministers.  They met last night where the board revealed its plan to meet with kōhanga families next month to discuss a new structure.

Hekia Parata says, “In March, they will talk to families from kōhanga across the country.  Once that is done, they will come back and reveal the next stage.”

One thing families want to see is the removal of lifetime membership for board members.  A rule that is still in the deed despite the board renewing it in July last year.

Parata says, “There are things that are still being deciding amongst kōhanga about what the deed should consist of.”

Labour's Nanaia Mahuta says the board needs to act swiftly on this issue which has been in limbo for a long time now.

She says, “The tide has come and gone.  It's time the board's structure was changed and for those changes to be made clear to families.”

Turei says, “I think they should be upfront about what they're doing and why and one of those ways is communicating with the media.  They need to communicate with whānau and there's lots of ways of doing that. But again, they have to put whānau first and I don't think they've done that in the last few years.”

Parata says once the issue is fully settled, only then will the focus turn to the Kōhanga Reo Treaty claim.

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