Kohanga Reo National Trust investigated

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Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi.
Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi.

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

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.

The Trust did not comment on the programme and could not be reached by the Herald.

- NZ Herald

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