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Minister Turia loses heart in Maori Television

Minister Turia loses heart in Maori Television

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has questioned whether Maori Television has forgotten its original purpose in the wake of its attack on Kohanga Reo.

The Education Ministry has asked accounting firm Ernst and Young to review how public funding is managed and spent by Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board.

This follows a Native Affairs expose, based on leaked credit card records, questioning about $10,000 in purchases made by Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and her daughter in law Lynda Tawhiwhirangi, the managers of the trust’s commercial subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga.

Mrs Turia told Radio Waatea’s Paakiwaha current affairs programme that she was distressed with the story.
“The whole way that was handled, you would have thought there was a huge amount of money that had been taken,” Mrs Turia said.

“The fact too was they portrayed it as if it was the national trust and its trustees who were involved when in reality it was a subsidiary company.”

Mrs Turia believes the credit records were leaked in retaliation for action taken against former chief executive Titoki Black, who was stood down and was then dismissed after trustees discovered staff had falsified reports to the Education Ministry to claim funding for a kaiako training course that had not been properly accredited.

“(Native Affairs)picked up on that issue too and portrayed it as if the national trust were to blame for the standing down of their CEO,” she says.

Mrs Turia says her own grandchildren attend a marae-based kohanga reo.
“This is an organisation, without it, many of our whanau would no longer have the reo. The revitalisation of the reo came through the case that went to parliament and went to court when our people fought back against the loss of reo. For my hapu at home, we have been 100 percent committed to the kaupapa of kohanga because not one of my generation had the reo. So to see it flourishing amongst our mokopuna is a huge thing for us at home, and when I watched that programme, I thought ‘you have no consideration for those of our families who for years have struggled to get te reo back, and then you denigrate the whole organisation as if somehow the national trustees are all responsible for what happened.’”

She said people in Maori institutions like Maori Television and kohanga reo should be driven by kaupapa and tikanga.

“That is not the case in terms of Maori Television. For many of us who fought to get Maori TV, our firm belief was we wanted something that promoted mauriora, the things that were important for us as a people, to paint the side of a picture so you wouldn’t get the impression 90 percent of our people were mad, bad or sad, which is how we are portrayed by the rest of the media. So yes, I must admit that as someone who totally loved those things, I think I have lost heart with Maori Television,” Mrs Turia said.

For the full interview check out the podcast on waateanews.com

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