August 01, 2018
Waho emerges with honour from Kōhanga debacle
The High Court has found that the board of Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust unlawfully sacked member Toni Waho in 2014 after claiming he had brought the trust into disrepute.
It ordered the trust pay him the honorarium he would have received since then, totaling more than $100,000, as well as pay his legal costs.
Mr Waho, who was the board’s deputy chair, fell out with fellow trustees about the way they handled allegations at the board’s commercial subsidiary, Te Pātaka Ōhanga.
Justice Karen Clark says when Maori Television’s Native Affairs programme reported on general manager LyndaTāwhiwhirangi’s use of company credit cards, the company’s directors moved to dismiss her.
Her husband Rākai Tāwhiwhirangi, son of former Kōhanga Reo Trust chair Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, threatened to release a document containing accusations of wrongdoings against company officers and the Trust Board unless she was given a $800,000 exit package.
It was Mr Waho’s efforts three months later to inform education ministers Hekia Parata and Pita Sharples of the existence of the so-called Rākai List that led to his falling out with fellow board members and subsequent dismissal.
Justice Clark says Mr Waho emerged from the debacle as a person of integrity and honour.
He acted in conformity with the contractual and fiduciary obligation on each member of the Board to disclose to the relevant Ministers allegations of serious wrongdoing.
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