Part 1: Introduction

Inquiry into certain aspects of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.


In this Part we explain:

How our inquiry came about

We began an audit and inquiry into Te Wānanga o Aotearoa1 (TWOA) after receiving a request for assurance from the then Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education), the Hon Steve Maharey, in September 2004. The inquiry initially related to concerns about conflicts of interest involving TWOA, Ora Limited, and the Kiwi Ora course, and was at that stage limited to queries made through our appointed auditor of TWOA.

Through the preliminary work by our appointed auditor, some other issues emerged. We made a request in December 2004 for TWOA to supply us with further information. TWOA provided its response to that request in early February 2005. We also sought information from Rongo Wetere.

The then MP the Hon Ken Shirley and the media raised certain allegations in the public domain in mid-February 2005. The then Minister of Education, the Hon Trevor Mallard, also asked us to look into other matters at TWOA.

As a result, we reconsidered the nature and scope of our existing inquiry. We met with the Minister of Education and Mr Shirley to understand the range and nature of issues that they had raised. We considered their views, and comments from TWOA, before we settled the terms and scope of our expanded inquiry.

In March 2005, we publicly released the terms of reference for our expanded inquiry.


Scope of our inquiry

Our inquiry examined:

  • the relationship and business arrangements between TWOA and the Aotearoa Institute Te Kuratini o Ngā Waka Trust Board (the AI Trust), and their controlled entities;
  • how TWOA identified and managed conflicts of interest;
  • how TWOA handled employing or contracting with close relatives of the chief executive;
  • selected payments to members of the Council and employees of TWOA;
  • TWOA’s acquisition of certain land and buildings;
  • TWOA’s acquisition of goods and services, especially where TWOA Council members, employees, or their close relatives were involved;
  • how TWOA acquired and set up courses; and
  • TWOA’s international travel policies and practices.

We focused mainly on transactions and activities during the 2002, 2003, and 2004 financial years.

We did not examine:

  • the appropriateness of the type of, and funding levels of, courses offered by TWOA;
  • the quality of the courses delivered by TWOA; and
  • TWOA’s enrolment practices (including allegations about the use of inducements).

These issues are more properly dealt with by the relevant government agencies.

Our 2004 annual audit of TWOA, under section 15 of the Public Audit Act 2001 and section 220 of the Education Act 1989, was conducted at the same time as this inquiry. The annual audit was undertaken by the appointed auditor of TWOA, and is separate to this inquiry.2

The full terms of reference for our inquiry are set out in Appendix 1.

What we did

We obtained a significant amount of documentation. Some requests for information from TWOA had already been made before the terms of reference for the expanded inquiry were finalised.

Our inquiry team spent time in Hamilton and Te Awamutu, visiting TWOA sites, meeting with staff, and obtaining and reviewing files and other documents.

We interviewed individuals from TWOA and from organisations that have done business with TWOA.

1: The full name is Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Te Kuratini o Ngā Waka, but it is commonly known as Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

2: At the time of writing this report, the 2004 annual audit of TWOA was not complete.

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