Formal warning laid against Te Pātaka Ōhanga following Internal Affairs investigation

updated By Maiki Sherman

Two investigations were sparked, following concerns by a single collective of more than fifty kōhanga reo from the Mataatua, Tauranga Moana region.

Financial loans to Te Pātaka Ōhanga staff and their families was one major focus of the SFO; loans amounting to $179,000.

According to the investigation, the scope of restrictions imposed upon TPO with regard to the use of funds meant they did not consider any further action was warranted.

In terms of credit card expenditure, the investigation found while some purchases related to personal items, including a Trelise Cooper dress, and a wedding gown worth $1000 purchased by former CE Lynda Tawhiwhirangi, the SFO said it was satisfied the card was used in error, and that repayments were made.

Following the National Trusts' own investigation, all credit cards were cancelled and Lynda Tawhiwhirangi was dismissed from her position.  

However, in regards to the investigation by Internal Affairs (charities arm), a formal warning has been laid. They've also outlined directives for change which must be implemented, and failure to do so could see them lose charitable status. That relates to Te Pātaka Ōhanga.

Their investigation continues regarding the National Trust itself. Only limited amounts of information would be released by Internal Affairs.   

The major focus for kōhanga families is to be given a voice at the board level, something currently being worked towards following a national meeting hosted by King Tūheitia.