Taeaomanino Trust woes get mixed response from clients
There have been mixed reactions from Taeaomanino Trust’s clients following media reports that the government-funded organisation is under police investigation for misappropriation of funds.
Taeaomanino Trust provides services to the Pacific community in Porirua, with a focus on social services and mental health. In the past 12 months it has assisted over 1000 families.
Porirua resident Maui Kie was referred to the trust by the court to receive counselling earlier this year and says the allegations have not hindered his support for Taeaomanino.
‘‘I got myself into some trouble and I’ve only dealt with my councillor Thomas Isaako . . . I think the best thing about this organisation is that they’re really understanding towards the Pacific Island people and a lot of the things they teach over there are important for us, like family values.
‘‘I’m learning a lot about myself and what kind of direction I should take as a person and as a father. If it was a Pakeha service I don’t think I would be as comfortable sharing as I am with Taeaomanino.’’
Cannons Creek mother of eight Christina Latu was referred to Taeaomanino by the Salvation Army while she was living in emergency housing three years ago.
She told Kapi-Mana News she felt ‘‘judged’’ from the moment she met trust founder Paula Masoe.
‘‘I know I have a lot of children, but in my first meeting with Paula Masoe, as she was shaking my hand, she said, ‘ You should learn to keep your legs closed’. From then on I knew I didn’t want to deal with Taeaomanino.’’
A letter to Deputy Prime Minister Bill English from social worker Carolyn Harvey, including an account of this incident, prompted the initial investigation into allegations of corruption in 2008. Mrs Latu was referred to a Family Start parenting programme which she had already completed twice.
‘‘That was the only assistance I got from Taeaomanino . . . The help I did receive was no use to me. Paula’s come in and out of our lives a few times in the last three years, but I haven’t had a good experience at all. I didn’t choose to deal with them any further.’’
Ms Masoe could not be reached for comment before press time.