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Waitangi Tribunal Directs Production of Crown Documents



The Waitangi Tribunal has suggested the Chief Executives of Te Puni Kōkiri and Ministry of Education attend mediation under the supervision of a high powered mediator with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board to address the Trust Board's concerns over the Early Childhood Education Taskforce report. The Tribunal has required a report from parties on the outcome of mediation by midday Friday 16 September 2011.

"The Tribunal heard our voice at our hearing for an urgent claim this week, and they have understood the prejudice to Kōhanga Reo if the Crown was to forge ahead with its funding decisions on the basis of a report we have not been consulted on," said Tina Olsen-Ratana, Co-Chair of the Trust Board.

The Tribunal has suggested a retired judge or politician would be a suitable mediator, and the Tribunal expects a report on the outcome of the mediation by 16 September 2011.

“The Tribunal has also asked for an update from the Crown on providing an assurance that any future decisions on policy development or funding of Kōhanga Reo be deferred until the Tribunal has ruled on the matter of urgency.”

The Tribunal has required the Crown to provide key documents about the ECE Taskforce Report, which include derogatory and potentially defamatory statements. These documents include:
• The date the Minister of Education, the Honourable Anne Tolley, received the ECE Taskforce Report; and,
• Any briefing papers or notes provided to the Minister in respect of the ECE Taskforce Report.
"Our concern is that the Minister of Education promised us we would be consulted and we were not, despite derogatory and potentially defamatory statements about Kōohanga Reo being included in the report. The concern for the Trust Board as the kaitiaki of Kōhanga Reo is the chilling effect the statements will have on the number of mokopuna participating," says Ms Olsen-Ratana.

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board received this news while they were at the coronation of Te Ariki Nui Kiingi Tuheitia, the Patron of Te Kōhanga Reo.

Ms Olsen-Ratana said, "We are grateful to the Tribunal for acting so fast on our claim and recognising the importance of Te Reo preservation."


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