Katene: Allegations are in past

Massey University's newest assistant vice-chancellor says allegations of dishonesty from his time as head of the Mental Health Commission are in his past.

While police were asked last year to investigate allegations against Selwyn Katene, the new assistant vice-chancellor for Maori and Pasifika said no charges eventuated.

"Nothing came of it," he said.

Dr Katene left the commission in December 2008 after allegations that he used $1501 worth of taxpayer money to pay for travel, accommodation and meals when he was on personal or political business.

In April 2011 it was reported in the Dominion Post that police had been asked to investigate. "We are aware of those matters, we have discussed them with Dr Katene and are satisfied with his response," a Massey spokesman said yesterday.

Dr Katene told the Manawatu Standard the commission carried out its own investigation of the case.

"They found no dishonesty relating to the use of commission money and concluded my failure to repay the personal expenses might have been inadvertent."

Dr Katene, who starts his role at Massey on August 6, said he repaid the $1501 and as far as he was concerned the matter was finished.

"I'm immensely excited about the opportunity to take over from Sir Mason Durie, it's a real honour and I feel I have a contribution to make."

Dr Katene earned his PhD in Maori Studies from Massey University in 2006.

Since 2009 he has been director of the Massey-led inter-university Maori academy Manu Ao.

Dr Katene was appointed by the Labour-led government to the Capital and Coast District Health Board in 2007, and was an unsuccessful mayoral candidate for Porirua.

The commission investigation found he used commission resources and time for personal business and politics in the run up to the 2008 general election, in which his wife, Rahui Reid Katene, was elected as a Maori Party MP.

Manawatu Standard