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Media statement from Toni Waho on High Court Judgment

He Tauakī Paho mā Toni Waho:

Kātahi anō Te Kōti Teitei i whakatau i tētehi wero ā-ture a Toni Waho ki Te Poari Matua o te Tarati ā-motu o ngā Kōhanga Reo. Tērā te wā he Kaitiaki a Waho mō taua Poari. He mea ōkawa mārika tā te Kōti, ko tā Te Poari Matua pana i a Waho i tōna tūranga Kaitiaki he takahi i te ture.

I whakaaetia e Te Kōti Teitei “i tika rawa atu tā Waho mahi whaiaro ā-mana” me tana “ū pono ki te kawenga ā-kirimana, ā-tikanga whakahaere pūtea me kawe e ia mema o te Poari Matua.” Kīhai Te Poari Matua “i rītahakore, i whai meka pono hei whakakaupapatanga pono i tāna whakatau” ki te pana i a Waho.

I te tau 2014 i tuhituhi a Waho ki te Minita me te Minita Tuarua o te Mātauranga ki te whakamōhio atu i ētehi whakapae mō te hē o te whakahaere ā-pūtea a te Tarati. Kīhai rawa te Poari i rata ki tā Waho whakapātanga atu ki ngā Minita nā reira i pana te Poari i a ia i tōna tūranga Kaitiaki e meatia ana nā Waho “te mana o te Tarati i takahi.” I whakatau te Kōti Teitei i ngā Kaitiaki katoa te haepapa a-ture ki te whakamōhio atu i ngā Minita, ā, kāore te mahi a Waho i takahi i te mana o te Tarati.

“E pōuri tonu ana au i whakatau ōku hoa Kaitiaki nāku te mana o te Tarati i takahī. Mō te whakatau a Te Kōti Teitei e taupokina ana te ngākau me te harikoa,” ko tā Waho. Ka āta pānuitia e mātau ko aku roia tā te kōti tuhinga. I te wā tonu nei e mihi ana au ki te Kōti mōna i whakarite i te nui o te wā me te āta whiriwhiri i te ture me ngā āheinga nā reira au e koa ana i toa taku tono ki te Kōti mō te atawhaitanga i hiahia au.

“Ko tāku he whai i te huarahi tērā e mārama ana au e tika ana kia ū ki te pono, ki te manaaki i te kaupapa a Te Kōhanga Reo. Kotahi te tau o taku tamahine ka uru ana a ia ki Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Āwhina i Te Papaioea. Mō ngā tau e 30 whai muri mai i pau i a mātau ko taku whānau te kaha kia ū ki te kaupapa a Te Kōhanga Reo. Ko taku whākī ki ngā Minita me te whakamārama he whakapae e meatia ana i hē Te Tarati he mea atawhai i Te Kōhanga Reo, koia hoki taku whai i Te Kōti.”

Nō te tau 2017 katoa ngā kaitiaki i heke iho. He tuatahitanga nō te orokohanga mai o Te Kōhanga Reo i tukuna mā ngā whānau o ngā Kōhanga Reo e whiriwhiri ko wai ngā Kaitiaki mō Te Poari. “Tēnei au te mihi atu ki ngā Kaitiaki hou, ki ngā whānau o Te Kōhanga Reo huri noa.”

I te otinga iho, ahakoa te whakatau a Te Kōti Teitei, māringanui he tino roia āku. He momo a Felix Geiringer rāua ko James Mahuta-Coyle. He toki, he ringa raupā, he ihu oneone, he kaiwhakairo ārero, he hinengaro nō tuawhakarunga e mārama ai te kite i ngā rua o te ture me hipa me ngā ara māro hei whai. I tautokohia rāua e ētehi roia atu, e Tom Bennion rāua ko Wendy Kemp. Tē taea e te kupu taku aroha ki a Felix rāua ko James e kawe atu.”

Tēnā koutou katoa.

Media statement from Toni Waho:

The High Court has upheld a claim against Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board by its former trustee Toni Waho. The Court formally declared that Mr Waho’s removal from the Board was unlawful.

In reaching that decision, the Court has held that Mr Waho acted “with a sense of personal integrity” and “in conformity with the contractual and fiduciary obligation on each member of the Board”. The Board’s decision to remove Mr Waho lacked any “objectively supportable factual foundation”.

In 2014, Mr Waho wrote to the Minister and Associate Minister of Education to inform them of allegations of financial impropriety that had been levelled against Trust. The Board took exception to Mr Waho informing the Ministers and removed him for “bringing the Trust into disrepute”. The High Court has held that the trustees had had a legal duty to inform the Ministers and that Mr Waho’s actions did not bring the Trust into disrepute.

“I am still extremely saddened my fellow trustees decided I had brought the Trust into disrepute. I am overjoyed by this result,” said Mr Waho. “I will be reading the judgment with care along with my lawyers. For now, I just want to thank the Court for its time and consideration and to say how happy I am that I have won the protection I sought through my Court action.

“I have only ever done what I thought was in the best interest of the Kōhanga movement. My daughter enrolled in Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Āwhina in Palmerston North when she was one. For the following 30 years, my family and I devoted ourselves to upholding the philosophy of Te Kōhanga Reo. My disclosure of the existence allegations to the Ministers of Education was to protect Te Kōhanga Reo, as was my action before the Court.”

The trustees of the National Board were replaced by new trustees in 2017. For the first time Kōhanga whānau selected who would represent them on the Board. “I wish the new trustees of the National Board the very best as well as the whole movement,”

“Last, but by no means least, I would like to publicly thank my barristers, Felix Geiringer and James Mahuta-Coyle, for the enormous amount of work they have done on my behalf. They were supported by solicitors Tom Bennion and Wendy Kemp. Words cannot adequately convey my gratitude.”


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