Kōhanga Reo rohe call for changes to National Trust Board

By Heeni Brown

Putting an end to lifelong board membership, changing its structure and more transparency and accountability were points strongly supported by Kōhanga Reo Whānau in the rohe.

According to the Kōhanga Reo Governance Working Party, Ngā Tuarā Whānui, there was strong support for change in the feedback from hui with Kōhanga around the country.

Kōhanga are being presented with the report and recommendations compiled by Ngā Tuara Whānui based on the feedback they received at Tūrangawaewae Marae today.

Ngā Tuarā Whānui was established earlier this year at Te Kōhanga Reo Hui Taumata to gather feedback from Kōhanga whānau after a number of investigations into allegations of misspending and poor management and processes surfaced regarding the Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board and its subsidiary Te Pātaka Ōhanga.

According to the report there was,“strong support for a change to the Board Structure and composition and broad agreement for no life-long membership of Trustees Board Membership.”

There was also a strong call for increased transparency and accountability to Kōhanga whānau and concerns were also raised regarding the quality of support provided to Kōhanga by the National Office across a range of issues including policy, buildings and insurance.

The report also outlined general support for King Tuheitia to remain Patron of Kōhanga Reo and appoint a female patron such as Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi.

The establishment of a Kāhui Rangatira was also proposed to provide guidance and oversight on kaupapa and tikanga matters. Members of the group would attend meetings but lose their voting rights. Suggestions of members for the Kahui Rangatira included King Tuheitia, Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Timoti Karetu and Wharehuia Milroy it was also supported they should be inaugural members.

The report also recommended changes to the Board structure which includes 7- 12 members elected from rohe with Kōhanga Reo and strong governance experience, annual reporting to stakeholders and transparency of critical decisions.

The recommendations are being discussed among the Kōhanga whānau today and further discussion is expected as to what will be the best way forward for the Kōhanga whānau.