The power struggle at the Porirua Whanau Centre makes for baffling reading. The social service provider announced a name change, from Cannons Creek Fanau Centre, in November last year, to reflect a broadening focus towards city- wide services, and from child (fanau) to family (whanau) services.
Before the paint was dry on the new sign, there were threats of legal action from the Whanau Centre’s community council, which claimed the board of trustees had also meddled with the trust – and none of it in line with its strategic vision.
The community council sacked the board of trustees and installed a new one, but the old board and Whanau Centre chief executive Liz Kelly continued business as usual. They dismissed the community council’s allegations, saying everything was above board.
It left the Whanau Centre with a board of trustees and a pseudo board of trustees, but which was which depended on who you talked to.
In December a petition bearing 600 signatures was put to Porirua City Council by resident Rob Piva, seeking an inquiry. There was concern the community’s ownership and governance of the service had been hijacked.
Porirua City Council rightly decided last week to keep its nose out of it, however, we would have expected Family Services to show some interest by now.
I’m not sure at what point John Cleese should have walked into this brouhaha and hollered ‘‘Manuel!’’, but it was probably before the Whanau Centre, still under the threat of legal action, decided to underwrite a music festival organised by Ms Kelly – who is also executive officer to Porirua Healthlinks Trust. We’re pleased as anyone to see Creekfest rise again, but the Whanau Centre’s focus should be on getting its own house in order.
Matthew Dallas, Editor.