May 12, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Allegations of Financial Mismanagement at Kohanga Reo National Trust emerge after #Native Affairs report

2 min read

(NZHerald) There are allegations of financial mismanagement at the top of a Government-funded organisation whose objective is to help children learn Te Reo.

  • To read background info on this story click here
  • To read the Defamation Letter, received for publishing a panui detailing these allegations click here

Native Affairs obtained credit card records of Kohanga Reo National Trust board member Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and her daughter-in-law Lynda Tawhiwhirangi, the general manager of the trust’s charity-status subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga (TPO).

The Maori Television programme’s seven week investigation, led by Mihirangi Forbes, found Lynda Tawhiwhirangi used her company credit card to purchase her daughter’s wedding dress, to buy a Trelise Cooper dress at the value of $800 and withdrew out $1000 as a koha for a hui she didn’t attend.

In sworn affidavits, she said her daughter forgot her credit card and she paid back the money nine days later, she still has the $1000 koha in a safe and she confused her company card with her personal one and after she realised her mistake four months later, she repaid the money.

The Trust went to the High Court to try and stop Maori Television broadcasting the report but backed down on Wednesday.

The trust’s credit card rules forbid personal spending, but in a sworn statement Chief Executive Angus Hartley said although TPO staffs are aware of that TPO itself has no formal credit card policy.

( In addition it was estimated that the Trust spent what added up to over $10,000 a month on koha. Koha, which it did not keep receipts for saying receipting went against tikanga.

The Native Affairs report also confirmed that Lynda Tawhiwhirangi was convicted of stealing when working for BNZ and served time for her dishonesty conviction.

As a result of the hard hitting investigative reporting by Mihirangi Forbes, #NativeAffairs was trending tonight on Twitter

2 thoughts on “Allegations of Financial Mismanagement at Kohanga Reo National Trust emerge after #Native Affairs report

  1. Sadly, society remember the bad more than the good. Hehe … so do our nannies and koros!! Regarding koha, I know when I worked for local govt we a-l-w-a-y-s gave a receipt for koha given/received and I know it is common practice for our marae and whanau to give a receipt for koha in its many forms. As for the credit cards … my goodness if you have a record you shouldn’t have anything whatsoever to do with finances. It’s all about transparency and safety .. for all.

  2. How much shame do some people think they can heap on the rest of Maori. We will all feel the backlash of Pakeha opinion. Anyone with a criminal conviction should not be appointed to a position giving access to public funding. I am sick and tired of these people dragging the rest of us down. Sack Lynda Tawhiwhirangi now and continue the investigation with the view to prosecuting the offender/s in open court. Surely the recording of koha is a necessary requirement in this day and age. Get real and adjust with the times just as our language has from the time of our tupuna to the present. Full disclosure, evaluation of performance, and investigation needed NOW.

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