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From Chair Of The Council Of Te Wânanga O Aotearoa

A Statement From The Chair Of The Council Of Te Wânanga O Aotearoa

Under the protection of Parliamentary privilege, serious allegations have recently been made against Te Wânanga o Aotearoa (TWOA).

As these allegations have damaged our good name and reputation, our Council has decided to make this statement in the interests of protecting the important educational objectives of this organisation.

More importantly we want to reassure our approximately 60,000 students and 2,000 staff - and their whânau - throughout Aotearoa New Zealand that it is business at usual at TWOA, and we urge them to focus on their studies.

TWOA has revolutionised education for Mâori – and others – particularly those who were previously excluded and shut out from higher learning. This is in line with the Government strategy for a ‘knowledge economy’.

New Management Developments

At last week’s TWOA Council meeting, it was decided to create the new positions of Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operation Officer to support the CEO/Tumuaki Dr Rongo Wetere. Management has been instructed to find the best possible people for these positions. In the meantime, as a priority, management are looking to appoint highly qualified and experienced personnel to act in these positions in an interim capacity.

Auditing

TWOA has some of New Zealand’s leading independent business figures sitting on its Audit Committee. Our organisation is one of the most audited in the land. There is nothing to hide, but much to be proud of.

The Allegations

The allegations are misleading and/or incorrect and we have challenged ACT MP Ken Shirley and the ACT party to make these allegations outside of Parliament.

For example, we do not own any limousines. In line with Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) directions, our policy is not to provide inducements. Our Greenlight Literacy programme was developed by TWOA and no one ‘sold’ us this programme. We do not provide any courses overseas, and the Council has been assured that no one in management siphoned off any money from TWOA to ‘line their pockets’. We are in the process of collating relevant information in respect of all allegations and this will be released in due course.

The 2004 multi-party Parliamentary Select Committee Review, the various New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) audit reports, our Annual Reports, the NZEIR Economic Impact Report, the 2003 Ministry of Education Retention, Completion and Progression in Tertiary Education Report and other public records provide the true facts around the various allegations. We urge those who have concerns to read these publicly available documents.

Statement to Students and Staff

I wish to assure all of the students and staff of TWOA that it is business as usual. Please ignore the political hype. This is election-year after all. Please keep learning; for yourself, for your whânau and for Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Finally, I would like to thank the thousands of New Zealanders who have contacted TWOA over the past week to express their support for our great institution and its Tumuaki at this difficult time.

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