May 19, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Correction (17 Aug): Mataatua-Tauranga Moana demand whanau initiated review of the Te Kohanga Reo Trust Deed

12 min read


Background: In mid-July 2013 an independent audit was released by Chen Palmer which resulted in the dismissal of former CEO, Titoki Black.

What emerged was that an educational course delivered by Te Kohanga Reo called Takaimatua in June 2012 had not been accredited (and therefore funded) yet was being offered to students. Instead students who thought they were in the course were being signed up under another course called Paerangatiratanga. As a result the Trust received $800k is was not entitled to (and which had been funded via the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) which then had to be paid back.

Whaea Black had been on 3 months paid leave at the time and as a result of the audit was not reinstated. In interviews via Maori Television the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau took issue with several things, the first being the way in with Whaea Black had been dismissed. They have also called for Kohanga Reo to be brought back to the kohanga reo themselves allowing for greater self-determination.

The fear is that this could impact on those students who took the course (in terms of loan repayments and accreidation). Reports suggest that this has been sorted and students will be able to get their tohu as they expected. It may also negatively impact on the current Treaty of Waitangi claim that is being heard.

The following panui emerged as word began to spread online regarding the above issues and detailed the opinions and perspectives of the Maatatua-Tauranga Moana whanau and explained their position in a Q&A style narrative. This ropu is also calling for the former CEO to be reinstated.

The National Trust Board are free to respond to these points, we hope that they consider doing so, these are not just questions this whanau has but reflect the concerns of many other kohanga reo whanau. If they don’t wish to respond on this forum, then they might consider doing so at the hui in Manukau early next week.

  • PS will keep you updated on any legal proceedings, might have to take around the ol’ collection hat or maybe we’ll get Potaua to begin busking his Papa Gaga routine 😉

Note on this korero:

[colored_box color=”yellow”] has been in touch with the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau who wanted to make it clear why they have shared their panui and why it was important that other whanau around the motu understood their raru. They were concerned that were being threatened with defamation and presented with a “cease and desist” letter.

There were 3 sections in particular that the Chen Palmer Law Firm (acting on behalf of Te Kohanga Reo National Trust) took issue with. Those sections have been rewritten to make it even clearer then before that these are the opinions of the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau based on their experience in trying to get answers from the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust. Because of a lack of communication between the groups the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau are now calling for an independent ‘whanau initiated review” of Te Kohanga Reo National Trust’s own “Trust Deed”.

As a free and independent Maori news portal (founded in 2002) which does not receive government funding, we publish important korero sent to us and because this is a matter of significant public interest it’s critical that readers understand the genesis of this raru from the perspective of Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau.

If they are incorrect in their opinions then the independent ‘whanau initiated review” will show this, surely there can’t be any harm in providing the information the whanau are asking for. hopes that the Trust sees past the tactics used by Chen Palmer and chooses instead to engage in pro-active dialogue with Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau instead of spending time and money taking, a small whanau-run ICT firm to court. Aue!

  • If you’d like to view related videos by Maori Television click here.
  • A series of Facebook page have arisen on both sides with those who are pro-board and those who are pro Maatua-Tauranga Moana whanau.

An audit was carried out by ChenPalmer Law firm

BTW: For future reference whanau, if you see something we have posted online, it’s quite easy to simply request clarification a rewrite or to pull the whole thing. We are not at all averse to taking panui down if we have somehow overstepped the bounds (we have done it before and all it took was a simple email or phone call, you don’t actually need to use a law firm to draw up what is no doubt a horrendously expensive ‘cease and desist’ letter to get the same result.)


Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau seek to clear up accusations of defamation by Kohanga Reo National Trust

The following details the raru that the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau have with the National Kohanga Reo Trust, it explains the opinions held by the whanau and why they are demanding an independent “whanau initiated review” of the Trust Deed.

Why have Mataatua-Tauranga Moana demanded an independent whanau initiated review of the Te Kohanga Reo Trust Deed?

  • Currently, Mataatua-Tauranga Moana, the Kohanga Reo whanau do not have a voice on the Kohanga reo Trust Board
  • Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau do not receive regular reports or feedback from the Board, and the Board do not have a regularised system or process to engage whanau that informs Board decision-making or direction
  • if the whanau disagree with the Board or their conduct there is nothing we can do about it under the current Trust Deed
  • there is absolutely no way whanau can hold the Board and Trustees to account for non-performance or deviation from kaupapa under the TKR Trust Deed.

Have whanau sought expert advice regarding the concerns of the Kohanga Reo Trust Deed?

Yes. Various legal and governance advisors have reviewed the TKR Trust Deed and have raised the following concerns:

  • The Trust Deed does not say who the Board are responsible or accountable to
  • There is no provision or mechanism that holds the Board accountable to te kaupapa o Te Kohanga Reo and/or whanau
  • The Trust Deed has been structured in a way that gives the Trustees absolute power, and this is a serious concern according to feedback from whanau
  • Whanau, purapura or rohe do not have a say in who is elected or appointed to the Board, only the Board have that power, without reference to whanau
  • The life term for Board membership is another serious concern.

Does this mean whanau, purapura or rohe dont have a say in which or how Trustees are appointed to the board?

  • Correct. The Trust Deed clearly states that only the Board can appoint Trustees to the Board. Its the same for removal of Trustees, only Trustees have that power not whanau. The Trust Deed does not even mention whanau, mokopuna or purapura.
  • Under Section 5.3.3 (d) of the Trust Deed the Board doesnt have to explain or give any reason as to their appointments to the Board.

Is it normal for Trust Deeds to give this sort of power and authority to Trustees and nothing to its beneficiaries?

According to the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau, not any longer. Initially when the Trust Board was established it wasnt uncommon. However Trusts rules and regulations have changed significantly since then. The level of power the Board has is a huge concern as recent events have demonstrated. This is why we are demanding a whanau led independent review of the Trust Deed so that it reflects the kaupapa of Kohanga Reo, to restore the mana of our kaupapa back to our mokopuna and whanau and to establish accountability mechanisms so that they reflect Te Kaupapa o Te Kohanga Reo, and mokopuna and whanau aspirations. As previously stated, whanau are not able to hold the Board to account.

Several people in the same role: Chair, co-chair and deputy chair

  • This is not regular practice Trust practice. It can also create confusion whereby functions and responsibilities are duplicated. Board roles and functions need to be clear and their purpose clarified and defined. This should also be approved by the whanau.
  • The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau have a co-chair who has been appointed spokesperson for our kaupapa at times however cannot speak te reo Maori. We believe all Kohanga Reo Board chairs and spokespersons must be able to speak te reo as this is the purpose of our kaupapa ko te reo me ona tikanga.

Why is Mataatua-Tauranga Moana demanding an independent audit of subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga (TPO)?

This was one of the key areas that ChenPalmer Law Firm took as defamatory, it has been reworded to make it clearer then before that these are opinions held by the whanau regarding their experience working with the Trust and give cause to why the whanau are asking for an whanau-initiated review.

[colored_box color=”green”]It is the opinion held by the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau that “conflict of interests” emerge when Trustees are also directors on TPO and approve loans on their own behalf. The whanau are of the belief that the interest rates are unreasonably low and create tensions that warrant a full and frank discussion of what is and is not appropriate.

This is a key reason why the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau demand an independent audit of TPO, its role, staff, functions and purpose. If everything is clean and transparent, then their should be no fear of an independent review. The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau feel that the Trust Board has corporate interests in TPO leading to potential conflicts of interest in decisions made regarding its operations.

The whanau are arguing that “there is also no information on how loans are applied for and/or approved. If you go to a bank or other finance company they take every precaution to ensure you are able to pay back the money in the agreed time frame. While the whanau has no proof that the these processes are not in place, they haven’t been provided with any information that they are. In addition the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau are unsure of how this approval process takes place, is there an application form, are there credit checks, are bank statements supplied along with other standard processes for approving loans. The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau argues that according to their understanding of the Financial Reports, that in 2012 there were roughly “$15,000 in loans approved to Trustees”, with an additional outstanding balance of $157,146 in loans, which begs the question “were the latest loans approved while there were other existing loans which were outstanding?”[/colored_box]

These are simply questions that the whanau would like answered, if there are systems and processes in place, that is fine, just detail to the whanau so they can be certain that due diligence is being upheld and that all such financial dealings are done so transparently.

What else is of concern to Mataatua-Tauranga Moana in relation to TPO?

This was another section that ChenPalmer Law Firm took as defamatory, again it has been reworded to make it clearer then before that these are opinions held by the whanau regarding their experience working with the Trust. These numbers come from the Trust Board’s financial reports which have been viewed by those whanau willing to drive to Poneke to read them (or for those who can pay the printing and courier costs to have them sent). The whanau wanted to make it clear that they did not know the nature of the non-cash items (previously they referred to items such as cars, fuel cards, cell-phones and ipads). Only once the audit that the whanau are calling for is undertaken and completed can they confirm what these non-cash items were.

[colored_box color=”green”]The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau are concerned with how Trustees and Directors apply for and approve loans for themselves from TPO. Currently there are outstanding loans of approx $157,146. TPO Directors and management are also provided with non-cash compensation to the value of $220,890 for the year 2012, and $215,624 in 2011, for non-cash items. As a result the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau are asking for an audit of the following:

  • all operational expenditure
  • all Directors and Trustees expenses and personal loans
  • loans and repayments
  • conflict of interests
  • capital purchases, including vehicles, fuel cards, phones, laptops, ipads purchased for Directors, Trustees and TPO staff.[/colored_box]

Why are Mataatua-Tauranga Moana demanding an independent audit into the matter which resulted in the suspension of CEO Titoki Black and Rochelle Broughton?

This is the final section that ChenPalmer took issue with in particular the issue of the Trust not working in the best interests of the kaupapa as “we the whanau and beneficiaries of the Trust believe it to mean”. On further discussion with the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau, is happy to comply with the request to remove parts of this section.

[colored_box color=”green”]The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau believe the kaupapa to be “whanau working together to ensure the survival of te reo Maori as a beacon for Maori culture as a whole.” The whanau feel that it has actually been Titoki Black’s reputation that has been tarnished.

The whanau feel that the Boards actions contradict this kaupapa, an example they point to is the decision of the Trust Board to use a forensic audit process over the whanau decision making process an integral process to the inner workings of the kohanga reo kaupapa. As a result the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau are asking for:

  • A review into all correspondence between TKRNT, NZQA and TEC be undertaken
  • A review into all Board minutes, consultation information, correspondence between the members of the Board be undertaken

The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau have also been informed from many whanau around the country at Trust Board hui that there has not been enough time to answer questions regarding genuine concerns the whanau have regarding these issues. [/colored_box]

Mataatua-Tauranga Moana have also raised concerns regarding the Boards lawyer Mai Chen. What are those concerns?

It is the opinion of the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana that the Board engaged Lawyer Mai Chen to undertake an independent audit into the issue which resulted in the suspension of the CEO and Mrs Broughton. Contrary to statements made by the Board to whanau regarding Mai Chen as independent auditor, she is not, and given her prior relationship could be neither independent nor impartial. She has forged strong relationships with each Board member by working closely with them during the claim also with the CEO Titoki Black and her staff. The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau accepted her as whanau. It is for these reasons we have sought the following:

  • What is Mai Chens actual role in this issue?
  • What is her relationship to the Board in this issue and outside of it?
  • Was it the lawyers advice to suspend Ms Broughton, as she was heavily pregnant at the time and due to give birth within days of being suspended? This is important as our kaupapa is about mokopuna and this treatment is totally unacceptable.
    • What is the financial cost of this action to the Kohanga Reo movement?
    • We demand a copy of the independent Internal Audit by Mai Chen.

Why are Mataatua-Tauranga Moana demanding the suspension of negotiations with the Crown of Wai 2336?

  • Tukuroirangi Morgan was appointed as a negotiator on behalf of Kohanga Reo. He was not mandated by the whanau to be a part of the claim negotiations. We were neither informed of his appointment, nor would have approved had we been asked.
  • There has been no consultation or engagement with whanau regarding the advancement of our claim.
  • The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau have no confidence in Tukuroirangi Morgan as a negotiator to represent the best interests of Kohanga Reo in respect of the Wai 2336 claim.

The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau demand a personal retraction and apology to Tuhoe whanui from Toni Waho?

Tuhoe members of the Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau were outraged by Mr Wahos statements advising Te Wharehuia Milroy and Timoti Karetu that they must abandon their Tuhoetanga in their roles as Trustees and adhere instead to their Kaitiakitanga. This totally contradicts the Kaupapa of Kohanga Reo in that no person should have to relinquish their cultural identity to serve the kaupapa. No one should be advised to abandon their Te Arawatanga, Ngapuhitanga, Poroutanga, Raukawatanga etc. The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana whanau believe iwi and Kohanga Reo kaupapa are one and the same.

What happens when the Board resigns or is removed?

The Mataatua-Tauranga Moana will be suggesting to whanau around the motu that an interim Board be appointed with a defined timeframe. Once the audit and review of the Trust Deed is completed and mandated by whanau, the interim Board will oversee the implementation of the audit and review recommendations. These recommendations will see a Kohanga Reo Trust Board appointed by the whanau, for the whanau (and mokopuna) and accountable to the whanau (and mokopuna).

Will this affect the operations of the Trust and funding to Kohanga Reo Whanau?

No, absolutely not. The aim is to improve all aspects of the kaupapa and also improve accountability and transparency. There will be no impacts to funding of Kohanga Reo whanau.


Defamation threat against

When we first published the panui above we received the following letter from Chen Palmer who demanded that we pull the panui down. It’s important that you understand and are made aware of both sides of the story, below are the key issues that the Board’s lawyers take issue with (and which we have re-clarified as a result – at the request of the whanau).

We will keep you updated on this situation.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 1.20.08 PM

20 thoughts on “Correction (17 Aug): Mataatua-Tauranga Moana demand whanau initiated review of the Te Kohanga Reo Trust Deed

  1. Kia Ora whanau this Board obviously displays the most unethical behaviour and a total lack of disrgard for whanau. This Board has declared that they are unique by the status of “Kaitiaki” and the “whanau decision making” processes throughout the WAI Claim. They have no place using the work “Kaitiaki”!!! to describe themselves.

  2. Respectfully, it’s time for change. I’ve not been involved with many Kohanga Reo, but the one’s I have experienced have good people involved, trying very hard to speak Te Reo Maori in their centre, and care for their kids, and much of that is being done in isolation. At least in my small experiences there was very little contact the Trust had with our centre. In particular, our building was in a state of disrepair and required some good guidance from the Trust in the DGS Grant under MOE. The centre was located in Wellington, so distance wasn’t an issue and in fact the Trust rep was for some time living in a building, next door to our centre, said to be living free of charge. From my view, as a parent, that spoke volumes about the flaws in management practises of the Trust. I don’t support the reinstatement of Titoki Black because, like the Board, I believe the Trust requires a fresh start. On the other hand, I do support an independent whanau review of the Trust. If it’s found in there that Titoki Black was unfairly dismissed then she should be properly compensated by the Trust and be afforded a public apology, clearing her good name.

    1. I apologize for not acknowledging before posting up. Thank you for bringing the information forward, provided to you by Mataatua Tauranga collective. I believe the point of it is for us, the public to come to our own conclusions. I certainly do not support the view that it was your intent to defame the character of the Trust. Like any news service, your job is to report the information that comes to you. However, it seems the only view available to you was that of Mataatua Tauranga collective. I accept that The Trust is within it’s legal rights to prosecute, however one hopes that this isn’t just a knee jerk reaction, as was the sacking of Titoki Black, and pride driven. Why should good money be wasted on that when there are degrading Kohanga Reo buildings and facilities, limited resources in centres, and low wages. It’s about priorities.

  3. Ko te mea nui ko te mokopuna!
    Disturbing and shameful if found to be true and an interim board needs to be put in,it sounds like power in some greedy hands!

    1. We appreciate that you recognise these are the opinion of this whanau and that further investigation and more importantly korero needs to take place before any judgements can be made. Nga mihi nui ki a koe e hoa 🙂

  4. Wow…. how long has this been going on for and was it like FOREVER..?? The Trust really need to be held accountable for their own hidden agenda’s and actions, Its sounding more like a “fascist regime” with John Key at the helm..!! And what gives that Waho clown the right to tell Te Wharehuia Milroy and Timoti Karetu respected leaders in their own right to relinquish their Tuhoetanga, What a bloody insult..!! Ko pukuriri ahau ki i a ia man… id like to knock his block off..!! (aroha mai wh?nau) i better stop now, No reira, kia kaha Mataatua-Tauranga Moana hoki kia tautoko ai ahau i t? mahi pai ki te whawhai t?n? pakanga i te National Trust ma, mauri ora…

    1. Again, these are the opinions of the whanau, from what we can gather they simply want answers to these key questions as do many other kohanga reo whanau. Mauri ora Kevin.

  5. kia kaha tatou nga kaikawe o te Reo Maori. Kia aro tonu tatou ki te whangai atu i Te Reo ki nga tamariki ahakoa te aha. kia kaua tatou e wareware, ko nga tamariki te tino kaupapa. kia kaha Mataatua Tauranga moana ki te tautoko atu i to rangatira, a Titoki. kia rewa ki runga i te tika me te pono.

  6. Kia Ora
    I would like to tautoko Maatatua/Tauranga Moana and thank them for taking this matter further,Titoki Black as a passion for our kohanga movement she has been wrongfully removed I vote for a audit and a review of the proceedings against her and others. Kia kaha the whanau of Titoki Black.

  7. I worked for 12 years in a Koohanga , started with no te reo, no tikanga very empty Maori so to speak I longed to learn my language , the kaiako I worked alongside side had the attitude that the knowledge and taonga she came with were for her mokopuna and no one else which i found stange why was she there ?? I completed to my 9 kete for Te Ara Tuarua , with very little support from my kaiako and kaimahi , it wasn’t until I started TA2 that I understood and learnt the kaupapa of koohanga , i came to the realisation this this kohanga i had dedicated my time to was not at all true to the kaupapa of TKR, whanau were over ruled and manipulated all the time,tamariki had very little reo kaha ana ratou ki te korero reo pakeha i nga waa katoa very embaraasing when we had other kohanga visit, because we the kaimahi spoke pakeha i mua o nga tamariki, alot of dishonest mishaps happened to often, which made me very uncomfortable, i confronted the kaiako and kaiwhakahaere several times of their dealings this made my mahi at kohanga horrible, because I was not supported by the kaiako and kaimahi to change for the better of the movement I made several complaints to the tari Ki Tamaki Makaurau , they helped by making changes so that finances could not be easily accessed, whanau were made aware of their responsibilities which was great, In march of this year I resigned because of personal conflict between myself and the kaiako/kaiwhakahaere it wasn’t fair on the tamariki and whanau to have to deal our differences, several months after finishing an allegation was made about me, which was totally untrue and uncalled for, so I put a status up on my Facebook page nothing ugly or nasty just a little about how I felt , mentioned no names just the kohanga name , 3 weeks ago the kaiako and kaiwhakahaere of this kohanga reo summoned me to a hui, that I could not attend because of my commitment to my new mahi..Be aware that this sort of carry on exists and for the heads at the poari matua this is not at all surprising why kohanga all over the motu are experiencing bad habits and bad practise. There are also beautiful kohanga reo with brilliant, professional Kaiako who are true to this movement they exist , finding and preparing real passionate Kaiako and kaimahi is another “take”, it saddens me deeply.

    1. Well,well,well it saddens me to read this. I too was in the exact same position so i know how you feel, having to resign because the kaupapa wasn’t been followed and our Tamariki were losing out that hurt me the most!

      1. Yes it is saddening for our mokopuna, the whole Kaupapa of whakapakari needs to change, to many kaiako with te reo in kohanga who have no idea how to teach tamariki working in kohanga, to many uneducated, unpassionate kaimahi working in kohanga, the whanau system needs to change, kaiako /kaimahi employing their whanau in kohanga needs to stop too much conflict of interest it’s bulshit, power and greed always gets the better..the whole Kaupapa needs to change for the better not for the worse..

        1. Na mihi kia koe Ngati Tika kei te tika tau.Mena kei te tika a mua NTRB. Ka tika a muri.Ko te Whakapakari, ka tipu te Akonga I roto I enei ahuatanga o te WHKP.Engari kia ahei te Akonga ki tenei te tangi me te mita o te reo na piki me naa heke o te reo kia kaua e tapapa mai te ahua o tona reo. I enei raa kua kite au I teneikua whakamanhia he akonga he iti noaiho te reo me ona mohiotanga ki te whakautu me te whakatakoto te kupu kia tika ano hoki ki te whakatakoto te kupu ki te mokopuna.Kia kaha naa kaitiaki ara a Tari Matua maa a whanau, me pakeke, me Kaumatua maa ki te tiaki naa kaimahi me o tatou whanau mokopuna hoki. Ae ra ka hoki ano au ki taaku Ka tika a mua ka waani ke te haere a muri

  8. This board dont care and have rubbished, ignored and dismissed the kohanga whanau who have raised these issues and concerns. Now we know why coz they dont want to be exposed for spending mokopuna money on themseles and taking out low interest loans and not having to pay it back. On top of their $30k plus salary for sitting on the board (just for a handful of meetings and they get more than the kaiako) they spend $200k on board expenses i.e. fuel cards each, cellphones, ipad, air travel, hotels… They are milking the system whanau. This board is corrupt!

  9. No Board should ever be unaccountable to those they serve. The Trust Board serves no real purpose other than that of self-serving. Through the Trust Deed they are able to establish themselves as “shareholders”. The Deed needs to be amended and the Trust Board needs to GO!!

  10. Kia Ora raa Koutou na whanau whanui o Ka rawe o koutou nei mahi na tirohanga I roto I naa mahi kuri o Te Poari Matua. E kore ratou e tiro whanui ki naa maemaetanga o te motu me na tamariki o Titoki. E kore e taea ia matou naa Kaimahi ki te tiaki na mokopuna I roto I naa kohanga reo mena koina te ahua. Me titro whanui tatou ki te Ao marama me haere whakamua tatou inaeanei tonu nei.Aha koa kei te aroha atu e kore e mutu tera enaari kua to te ra mo ratou.Amen

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