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Kohanga story not the full picture - trustee

Kohanga story not the full picture

A Kohanga Reo trustee is accusing Maori Television’s Native Affairs programme of being used by senior staff out to get revenge.

Native Affairs is set this evening to air a story based on leaked credit card records from accounts controlled by Te Pataka Ohanga, a commercial subsidiary of Te Kohanga Reo National Trust.

Speaking exclusively to Radio Waatea’s Paakiwaha current affairs programme, trustee Toni Waho told host Willie Jackson that the leak appears to be blowback from action the board took over the bungled introduction of two training programmes.

An investigation found the programmes to train early childhood workers within a kohanga reo framework were not accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, so were not entitled to funding.

However, students on the unfunded courses were reported as being on another course to qualify for funding.

The investigation led to the departure of chief executive Titoki Black, sparking protests calling for her reinstatement.

“We stepped in. That was our diligence but it was not appreciated by some of our most senior staff and we have been suffering a barrage of attack from within our kohanga whanau.” Mr Waho said.

“Someone has gone into the trust records, we have this under investigation, and stolen credit card records. They were passed on to Maori Television who no doubt tonight are going to try to make links to dots that don’t exist.”

The credit card records related to spending by the chief executive of Te Pataka Ohanga, Lynda Tawhiwhirangi, and her mother in law, director and trustee Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi.

Mr Waho says the three directors of Te Pataka Ohanga are reviewing the spending. If there is any misappropriation or mistakes, they will take appropriate action when their investigation is complete.

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