24 Mar 2014

Hui to discuss kohanga trust structure

7:03 pm on 24 March 2014

Changes to the make up of the Kohanga Reo National Trust are likely to happen at an upcoming national hui called by the Maori King.

King Tuheitia called the three-day meeting before the Government called upon the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to investigate the trust's subsidiary arm regarding allegations of misspending.

The Kohanga Reo National Trust says it will fully co-operation with the SFO investigation, which was announced last week.

In a statement today, the trust said it would also co-operate with other investigations being carried out by the Department of Internal Affairs.

A spokesperson for the Maori King said Kingi Tuheitia had signalled it was time for change, which must be driven by the people.

The Kohanga Reo Trust said it would fast-track efforts to set out the direction and structure needed to move forward, including the make-up and membership of the board. It said kohanga whanau at the national hui would help the board to do that.

Branch invited

King Tuheitia has issued a personal invitation to the upcoming hui to a kohanga branch which has openly criticised the trust in the past.

He visited the Waiariki region to meet with members from the Mataatua Tauranga-Moana branch to talk about concerns it has regarding the kohanga movement.

Collective spokesperson Lorraine Hale said King Tuheitia wanted to meet the branch to give it the chance to share its concerns with him. She would not disclose what those concerns were.

Last year, about 300 whanau members from the branch travelled to Wellington to hikoi to the kohanga headquarters in opposition over the departure of the trust's chief executive at that time, Titoki Black.

Ms Hale said King Tuheitia acknowledged the collective's concerns, and that she hoped the hui would be a forum in which to resolve matters.

The three-day hui, at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, begins on 11 April.