16 Oct 2016

Kidnapping charge 'an insult to Māori community'

3:34 pm on 16 October 2016

Māori support is being voiced for Te Puea Marae chairman Hurimoana Dennis, who is set to face a charge of kidnapping.

Hurimoana Dennis farwells B and her family at Te Puea Marae. 24 June 2016.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Mr Dennis is also a police inspector, though he has been stood down this year.

Police confirmed yesterday that Mr Dennis would face a charge of kidnapping after an incident at Auckland Central police station last year involving a 17-year-old.

Fellow officer Sergeant Vaughan Perry would also be charged, with being party to a kidnapping.

Mr Dennis's lawyer said yesterday his client maintained he was acting in the boy's best interests.

Manukau Urban Māori Authority chief executive Willie Jackson said charging him was an insult to the Māori community.

Waikato Tainui is also understood to be supporting Mr Dennis, who has been in the news this year for helping the homeless in Auckland.

A community worker, Boyd Paratene, told TV3's The Hui today he was "flabbergasted" by the charge.

He said Mr Dennis had helped many vulnerable young men, keeping them out of jail.

Green MP Marama Davidson said Mr Dennis's leadership had been absolutely outstanding and she hoped that would be taken into consideration by the courts.