More details emerge regarding Kōhanga allegations

By Maiki Sherman

Details have emerged concerning major allegations that've been made regarding the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.  This is the latest from an injunction from board member Toni Waho in the High Court in Wellington.

Fresh allegations regarding misspending sparked the SFO investigation.

Allegations which came from Rakai Tāwhiwhirangi, according to the Statement of Claim by Toni Waho in the High Court.

Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi is the mother of Rakai Tāwhiwhirangi. Lynda Tāwhiwhirangi is his wife. She was stood down as general manager of Te Pātaka Ōhanga for separate misspending allegations.

Te Kāea reported in February that Lynda Tāwhiwhirangi was seeking an exit package in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Board didn't want to be interviewed today, but they firmly deny the allegations, and also confirms there has been no fresh allegations from Rakai Tāwhiwhirangi.

Today we visited the home of Rakai and Lynda Tāwhiwhirangi to discuss the matter.

Druis Barrett was one of three Te Pātaka Ōhanga board members at the time. She opposed a severance package.

Shortly after there was an attempt to have Druis Barrett removed from the board, but that failed.

Druis Barrett was at the High Court in support of Toni Waho.

Toni Waho wanted the allegations by Rakai Tāwhiwhirangi investigated. However,  Toni Waho claims that was actively prevented by Tina Olsen-Ratana.  Also, Waho claims Tina Olsen-Ratana told Board members to destroy copies listing the allegations from Rakai Tāwhiwhirangi.

Tina Olsen-Ratana denies those allegation.

One of the serious allegations made by Toni Waho is that Tina Olsen-Ratana misled Ministers.

At a meeting between Ministers and the Board, Toni Waho claims, the "fresh allegations" regarding misspending were not revealed.

Tina Olsen-Ratana denies that.

However, it's known the Minister left that meeting with the announcement to media that for the most part everything was fine at the National Trust.    

The following day, Hekia Parata called in the Serious Fraud Office having been made aware of "fresh allegations.” Allegations made known from Toni Waho's letter.

That's the basis of the Board's desire to remove him.  It claims Toni Waho brought the Board into disrepute for informing the Ministers of the allegations. 

Toni Waho claims Board members were pressured into giving confidentiality undertakings to prevent them from informing others of the allegations.

Tina Olsen-Ratana admits the Board members were required to sign confidentiality agreements, but otherwise denies the allegations.

A date has not yet been set for when the case will re-appear before the court.