Native Affairs – Political Special Part 3

By Mihingarangi Forbes

On Friday it was reported that the Minister of Education Hekia Parata has written a letter to Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust threatening to cut their 2.5 million dollar contract if they fail to respond to demands for the abolishment of life term board memberships in favour of a democratic and representative governance structure.

In October last year Native Affairs broadcast an investigation into governance and expenditure at Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust and it's charitable subsidiary, Te Pātaka Ōhanga after concerns were raised by a collective of 48 kōhanga reo from the Mataatua/Tauranga Moana region. 

Our story sparked an audit of the trust which revealed a 50 thousand dollar undeclared koha to a board co-chair Tina Olsen-Ratana, and highlighted inadequacies around credit card returns, koha payments and accounts processing. However the audit failed to examine Te Pātaka Ōhanga which is now the subject of investigations by both the Serious Fraud Office and Internal Affairs.

A national hui to be held this weekend at Turangawaewae Marae was expected to discuss these issues however the agenda has left whānau feeling underwhelmed about what change if any will come.