20 Jul 2011

Opponents of Fiji's Tevita Mara welcome at public event in Auckland this Saturday

3:19 pm on 20 July 2011

People unhappy with the Fiji army colonel Ratu Tevita Mara being allowed into New Zealand are being encouraged to meet him at a public gathering in Auckland on Saturday.

Colonel Mara, who had been a key member of the Fiji interim regime, escaped to Tonga in May and has issued scathing criticisms of the coup leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama and his associates.

Though he remains on the banned list he's been given five days in New Zealand and arrived last night.

The Coalition for Democracy has called for his arrest for his role in alleged torture, and the group which is behind Col Mara's visit, the Fiji Freedom and Democracy Movement, acknowledges some people are opposed to him being here.

But its president, Josaia Rasiga, says those against the visit can put their concerns to Col Mara directly this Saturday.

"We are inviting them over to actually hear from the horse's mouth what actually happened, and then encourage them to ask him, if they are in doubt of anything or they disagree with something, that would be the better place to be on Saturday, to ask him actually, so that he would answer them what they actually wanted from him."