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Independent audit into Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust

Release of independent audit into Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Minister of Education, Dr Pita Sharples have released the independent review of Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust, which shows the Trust’s financial controls are effective.

“The Trust receives around $92 million per annum in public funding. It was important, given allegations about inappropriate credit card use at the Trust’s private company Te Pataka Ohanga, to establish that there were proper financial controls around the public funding provided for kōhanga reo,” Ms Parata says.

“The Ernst and Young Review shows that the Trust was legitimately buying services for Kōhanga Reo from Te Pātaka Ohanga and there was no misuse of public monies in this regard.
“It found the Trust’s financial controls are effective for an operation of its size and complexity but some improvements are needed around credit card returns and koha payments.

“The Trust is working through the review’s recommendations around accounts processing, documentation and the recording of koha. In the meantime, it has cancelled all credit cards.”

Ms Parata and Dr Sharples stressed that Te Pataka Ohanga is a subsidiary organisation owned entirely by the Trust.

“The Ministry of Education does not have any contractual or financial relationship with Te Pataka Ohanga,” says Ms Parata.

She said the arrangement that exists between the Crown and the Trust to fund individual kōhanga reo is different from all other early learning providers.

“Payments to the Trust for kōhanga reo are only made after all services have been delivered. With all other early learning providers, the bulk of the payment is made before the services have been provided and the rest is paid on delivery. The Trust requested this retrospective payment over four years ago to reinforce its control of public funding.”

“As I indicated at the outset, no improprieties in respect of kōhanga funding have been found,” says Ms Parata.

Both Ministers want to reiterate that tamariki and whānau lie at the heart of kohanga reo and the work of the Trust.

“Kohanga reo have been a cornerstone of the Maori language revitalisation movement,” says Dr Sharples.

“This kaupapa has reached right into the heart of our whanau by focusing on the development of our tamariki. In doing so, it has inspired generations of whanau to be a part of our cultural resurgence.”

“It is important that the Trust take this opportunity to assess whether their current arrangements meet the challenges of being a modern organisation, responsive to the needs of whānau,” says Ms Parata.

“I look forward to the kōhanga reo engaging more tamariki-mokopuna as we together strive to meet our Better Public Service target for early childhood education that in 2016, 98 per cent of children starting school will have participated in quality early childhood education.”
The report can be read at: www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/InformationReleases/TeKohangaReoNationalTrustPublicFundingReview.aspx

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