Convicted fraudster gets new job with West Auckland Maori trust

  • Breaking
  • 23/02/2008

Former ACT MP and convicted fraudster Donna Awatere Huata has a new job with a high-profile west Auckland Maori trust.

The Waipareira Trust said it gave her a job because there was no one else more capable in the country

Mrs Awatere Huata was convicted of five fraud charges and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2005 after she defrauded $80,000 from the Government funded Pipi Foundation, a literacy programme she started for underprivileged Maori children.

She was jailed for two years and nine months and her husband, Wi Huata, got two years.

During the trial the Auckland District Court was told some of the money helped to pay for a stomach stapling operation and some went on private school fees for her children.

The New Zealand Herald today reported Waipareira Trust's chief executive, former Labour MP John Tamihere, had head-hunted Mrs Awatere Huata and was doing contract work as the trust looked to lead radical education change in Waitakere City.

She refused to comment yesterday.

Mr Tamihere said he wanted the "best" to launch the trust's new education policy.

"I went out and sought her services because she is very good. No one in academia can debate her commitment and skills.

"She's not a brown bureaucrat. She's on the outside looking in and she's singing the right song."

People should be given a second chance, and the fact that her father, Colonel Arapeta Awatere, was one of the leaders who started Waipareira also meant something, Mr Tamihere said.

However, she would not be responsible for any money.

Mrs Awatere Huata had been contracted to do a research paper and would assist the trust as it planned for an education summit in April.

Mrs Awatere Huata also helped set up the Te Kahui Manaaki Tamariki trust to prevent child abuse and family violence in conjunction with the Auckland University of Technology.


source: newshub archive