Te Aupōuri Māori Trust Board's social services shut down

By Dean Nathan

The shock closure of Te Aupōuri Māori Trust Board's social services arm this week has been the result of the financial mismanagement of their programmes.

Twelve staff from the Te Aupōuri Board's social services arm have lost their jobs following the sudden closure of their agency.

Henry Ihaka of Te Poari Māori o Te Aupōuri says, "Some of the programmes ended last night and staff left last night.  And now at this stage we're working very hard with MSD to transition those programmes to new providers, so that the service isn't disrupted."

Auditors have been been brought in to review the books to gauge the level of financial loss

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says he feels for them, but the issue must be investigated further.

Programmes like Social Workers in Schools and Project Haere placing unemployed youth in the Christchurch rebuild and project "Hippi" parents as first teachers are being transitioned to other providers.  Meanwhile Te Aupōuri have onsold the successful Kiwi.Com and Number Works and Words programmes to private training establishments.

Ihaka says, "The services will continue to be delivered but they won't be delivered under the Aupōuri Māori Trust Board banner.  But we have put a lot of energy into making sure that the benefits that the board have built for the community don't disappear because of the crisis."

Flavell said that he and the Treaty Minister knows they must wait 3-4 weeks for the Te Hiku Bill to pass, at that time, the post settlement will be given.

The board is waiting for a full audit before they can release details on how it came into financial strife.