Centres wait for inquiry outcome

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 24/03/2014

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Kohanga reo centres around Taranaki are keeping close tabs on developments related to their national body.

Last week the Serious Fraud Office was asked to investigate Te Pataka Ohanga, the commercial arm of Te Kohanga Reo National Trust, after allegations were made about possible misspending.

This move followed the release of an Ernst and Young report on Tuesday which cleared the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust itself of any financial wrongdoing. The trust receives about $92 million a year of government funding.

Aotea Te Kohanga Reo manager Ruka Broughton, who is responsible for the Taranaki and Whanganui districts, said he had been in contact with the centres in his patch since the news broke.

He said although it was a "real positive" that the national body itself had been cleared, it was too early to say what impact the SFO investigation might have on the organisation.

"We're now waiting patiently with regard to what is going to happen next," he said.

Although the day to day running of the centres had not been affected, he had been "inundated" with texts, calls and emails from concerned whanau.

"My job is to keep everyone together," Mr Broughton said.

The developments would be high on the agenda at the monthly meeting of district representatives, which will be held in Whanganui. "Part of the discussion on Wednesday will be this issue," he said.

He said he did not know any of the details related to the SFO investigation but wanted to keep an open mind about any potential outcome.

"What we don't want to do is to get our people to panic for no reason."

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