19 Mar 2014

Kohanga feels vindicated after audit

5:06 pm on 19 March 2014

A kohanga reo in Marlborough says it feels a sense of vindication for the Kohanga Reo National Trust now that a recent report has exonerated it from claims of financial mismanagement of public funds.

Kohanga Reo National Trust HQ in Wellington.

Kohanga Reo National Trust HQ in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The 22 page Ernst & Young report was launched after claims Te Pataka Ohanga had been misusing credit cards for fuel, accommodation and dresses.

The review found that Government funding totalling $92 million hadn't been misused.

A kaiako at Waikawa Te Kohanga Reo near Picton says she always knew the trust wasn't guilty because trustees such as, Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, aren't focussed on any financial gains, they are there first and foremost for the tamariki.

She says the trust has always been good to deal with and they have always been transparent in all of their procedures.

Another kohanga reo in Nelson, Kia Tau Te Rangimarie, says it agrees with Education Minister Hekia Parata's comment that tighter reins need to be put on koha (donations).

She says koha of more than $20 need to be recorded and every cent needs to be accounted for.

Most kohanga reo Radio New Zealand spoke to say they are waiting to attend a national kohanga reo hui next month at Turangawaewae Marae to get the full picture of the Ernst & Young report.

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating what Education Minister Hekia Parata has described as further 'unsubstantiated allegations of mis-spending' by the commercial arm of the Kohanga Reo Trust Board.

The Department of Internal Affairs also confirmed on Wednesday that its charities services division is investigating the Kohanga Reo National Trust.