Politics | Hekia Parata

Parata wants to stay clear of dispute between Kōhanga Board and Toni Waho

Education Minister Hekia Parata says it was right for ministers to be informed of misspending allegations regarding the Kōhanga Reo National Trust and its subsidiary, Te Pātaka Ōhanga.

Despite that, Hekia Parata doesn't want to get involved in a dispute which involves the Board wanting to remove trustee Toni Waho for informing them.

Yesterday, Toni Waho's interim injunction application was rejected by the Wellington High Court seeking a stop of Board actions to remove him.

The fresh allegations were so serious they were referred to the SFO, allegations brought to light by Toni Waho, which is why the Board want him gone.

Hekia Parata says, “My responsibility lies directly with Government funding. If a problem is identified, I address it, and that's where I take my lead.”

Hekia Parata says it was right for Ministers to be informed of the misspending allegations. However, it wasn't the Board who informed Ministers despite having met with them the night before the SFO was called in.

Toni Waho alleged in court that co-chair Tina Olsen-Ratana deliberately misled Ministers.

Tina Olsen-Ratana denies that.

The High Court ruled Toni Waho did not demonstrate a seriously arguable question to be tried and that the decision of trustees was not reviewable by the Court.

Toni Waho also made a number of serious allegations, the Judge said he did not consider them in detail.

Te Kāea approached the National Trust for comment but are yet to receive a response.

Next month, the National Kōhanga Reo meeting will be held at Tūrangawaewae where the working party's report will be tabled into a new structure for the Board.