- Publish Date
- Monday, 16 December 2019, 3:26PM
Sir Howard Morrison's daughter, Donna Mariana Grant, has admitted defrauding a tertiary education provider and a Crown agency of approximately $1.25 million.
The prominent Māori performing arts educator has pleaded guilty to four fraud charges, one of which relates to the New Zealand Warriors Foundation.
She was supported by eight friends and family members in the public gallery, including her uncle Trevor Maxwell MNZM, a long-serving Rotorua Lakes councillor.
Grant, a prominent performing arts educator from Rotorua, held numerous positions with charitable organisations between 2010 and 2014.
She was a trustee of the Te Arawa Kapa Charitable Trust, a member of the board of trustees for the New Zealand Warriors Foundation, as well as the executive director of a private training establishment, Manaakitanga Aotearoa Trust.
She used her positions to fraudulently obtain funding from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and the Tertiary Education Commission.
This afternoon, before Justice Graham Lang at the High Court at Rotorua, Grant admitted the charges relating to these three organisations.
She leaned forward with her hands on the front of the dock, and in a softly spoken voice, she pleaded guilty as each charge was read to her.
She admitted three charges of dishonestly using documents.
The first two charges related to the Te Arawa Kapa Charitable Trust and the third related to the Warriors Foundation.
Her fourth charge of obtaining funding by deception related to the Manaakitanga Aotearoa Trust.
Justice Lang also entered convictions for all four offences.
Each charge comes with a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment.
Grant first appeared in the Rotorua District Court in May last year after the Serious Fraud Office laid representative charges of dishonestly using documents and obtaining by deception and individual charges of creating a forged document and using a forged document.
The last two charges were withdrawn today, and Grant was remanded on bail until her sentencing on February 7 next year.
Grant was the first woman to be appointed to the board of the Warriors rugby league club in 2012.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.