October 22, 2013
Harawira defends Kohanga chiefs
Mana leader Hone Harawira is concerned at the effect allegations against kohanga reo are having on people who have been at the forefront of the Maori language revival.
It could be several weeks before a series of internal and external reviews confirms whether there was any meat in the story by Maori Television’s Native Affairs programme about the use of credit cards by kohanga reo icon Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi and her daughter in law Lynda Tawhiwhirangi.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has accused Maori Television of following the rest of the media in painting a negative picture of a key Maori institution.
Mr Harawira says the story is the fall out of a rift between Dame Iritana and her successor as chief executive, Titoki Black.
"Iritana Tawhiwhirangi will forever in my eyes be a hero for what she has done for the kohanga reo movement. Sure she’s made mistakes, but haven’t we all. If Iritana has, then let’s get them dealt with and let her get back to being the leader she is naturally in terms of kohanga reo. Let’s put up the protections if necessary, change the structures so these sorts of problems don’t happen again, but let’s not kick good people to death," Mr Harawira says.
Meanwhile, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori has welcomed an apology from Maori Television for a news report alleging financial misappropriation by its chairman and chief executive.
The apology was broadcast last Friday, saying the allegations made in a Te Kaea news bulletin in August 2012 were incorrect.
The language commission asked for an immediate apology and retraction, but it took more than a year to come through, arriving on outgoing Maori Television boss Jim Mather’s last day on the job.
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