9 Jul 2018

Calls mount for an investigation into Te Awanuiārangi Black

5:50 pm on 9 July 2018

Calls are mounting for a formal Police investigation into claims that a Māori leader, Te Awanuiārangi Black, was a paedophile.

In a harrowing 12 minute video posted on Facebook at the weekend, Anihera Black alleged her late ex-husband and Tauranga leader Mr Black as a paedophile, the ringleader of a child sex ring, and a man who preyed on children for years.

The allegations dropped a bombshell on the Māori and Tauranga communities, with the video being viewed more than 300,000 times in as little as three days.

Along with working alongside the late Te Awanuiārangi Black, Te Rarawa iwi leader Haami Piripi remembered seeking his help to write karakia or prayers.

He said Anihera's admission was irrefutable.

"If it didn't come out of his wife's mouth I wouldn't be absolutely gobsmacked but coming out of her mouth after 26 years of marriage it has to be put in the irrefutable category."

Mr Piripi worked with Mr Black at the Māori Language Commission in the 2000s and said he never would have picked it.

Rosina Hauiti, an old friend of Anihera Black, said she believed the claims made against him.

"He had a reputation for being a philanderer, and it was out in the open.

"I already know that he has a good reputation for the work that he has done, but there was also that other side of him."

Ms Hauiti said she did some filming at an event that captured Mr Black with a young woman, and she found it strange when Mrs Black went to her asking questions about the woman's age.

"She was really, really adamant that she wanted to see it.

"She had concerns around the age of this person, of this woman, and she was putting up a fight to see that footage.

"It kind of makes sense to me now."

The allegations will come as a huge blow to the hundreds of people Mr Black trained in Māori cultural practices, Mr Piripi said.

"If you've gone through all your training on something, whether it be mau rākau or kapa haka or whaikōrero, whatever it may be, to find at the end of your training that your teacher wasn't tika, [it] just totally undermines the entire thing.

"That's the biggest blow, it's a very personal thing."

A number of groups that Mr Black had connections with would not comment, but said they were waiting for the Police investigation to be complete.

In a statement, the Māori Language Commission said it was a whānau, hapū, iwi and police matter and they encouraged anyone affected to seek support.

The police have not confirmed that they are investigating, instead they say they will be seeking further information about it.

But Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive, Paora Stanley, said they should launch an investigation.

"The iwi's reaction is fully supportive of a police investigation, they're serious allegations."

Mr Black was a regional councillor and Māori Party candidate. He died from organ failure after a short time in hospital in 2016.

He also held roles with Te Wānanga o Raukawa and the Tauranga Moana Iwi Leaders' Group.

Where to get help

NZ Police

Victim Support 0800 842 846

Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00

Rape Prevention Education

HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): be 04 801 6655 - 0