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24 April 2015

Charities Services investigation of Te Poaka Tipua Charitable Trust concluded

Registered charities in New Zealand enjoy a high degree of public trust and confidence.  From time to time, Charities Services receives information about a charity that may be involved in serious wrongdoing that could affect the sector’s good reputation, and opens an investigation.

Investigation into Te Poaka Tipua Charitable Trust, CC51181

  • Charities Services opened an investigation on 26 January 2015, after concerns were raised by a member of a funding organisation.   
  • The Trust was registered as a charity on 14 October 2014.  Amongst its beneficiaries, it listed children/young people, other charities, the general public, and family/whanau.
  • Allegations were subsequently made in news media that the charity had links with the sex industry. 

What did the investigation cover?

  • The investigation included a review of the Trust’s structure, purpose and charitable activities, and involved liaison with several other government and non-government agencies. 

What were the investigation’s findings?

  • It confirmed that one of the trustees was disqualified because of a previous conviction for dishonesty that was not disclosed. 
  • It identified other concerns, for example with the charity’s governance,  that – if the charity hadn’t opted to wind up – would otherwise have led to compliance action such as a formal warning notice.
  • The investigation did not confirm any evidence that substantiated the allegations that the charity was linked to the sex industry, which would have constituted serious wrongdoing that breached the Charities Act. 

What was the outcome?

  • Charities Services has now concluded its investigation.  
  • The Trust has advised Charities Services that it is formally winding up and has opted to deregister.
  • The Trust has said that it is no longer operating and is referring clients to other agencies.
  • Charities Services, which supports the independent Charities Registration Board, has actioned the  charity’s deregistration
  • The deregistration date and reason have been published on the Trust’s page on the Charities Register.