31 Aug 2018

'Is there something there, or is there not?'

7:50 am on 31 August 2018

The chief executive of Ngai Te Rangi will be writing to the Police Commissioner to find out what their next action is over the case of Te Awanuiarangi Black.

No caption

Anihera Black accused her late husband of involvement in a paedophile ring. Photo: Screenshot / TVNZ

The widow of the high profile Māori leader accused him of involvement in a paedophile ring in a video posted on social media last month.

The police said one person has come forward since then but they have found no evidence of any of the claims that a paedophile ring is, or was, operating in Tauranga.

Ngai Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley had been friends with Awanuiārangi Black since he was 16 years old, and felt he knew him well.

In a statement, police said based on the available information they were unable to progress the matter.

But they welcomed contact from anyone with information about the allegations who had not been in touch with the police.

Mr Stanley said he was not sure what the police were saying and that it sounded like they were trying to leave the case open.

"What happens now? Is there something there, or is there not? If there isn't, what then do we do?"

Mr Stanley intends to write to Commissioner Mike Bush to ask where this went now. "I know they said it's closed, but it's not really closed, it's kind of open.

"Has it all been a wild goose chase and if so, then is that where it ends? When people make a statement and social media it gets trialled and a dead man's memory is now changed forever."

Ms Black has said she has given the police names of four people she believed may had been involved, or had knowledge of, a paedophile sex ring.

Mr Stanley said two of these men were now considering legal action against her, and that they had been suicidal as a result of the allegations.

Awanuiārangi Black's cousin and spokesperson for Ngati Pukenga, Ki Pouaka Pukekura, cried when she heard the news the police had closed the case.

She said the matter has hurt her whanau and especially the elders deeply. For her the closure of the police case was more clear-cut.

"In the one sense I think why should we clear his name, he hasn't done anything. But it's the way it came out and it went global. The stigma will always stay, that's the hurting part now for us."

Ms Pukekura said she also knew some of the men accused of paedophilia and they had been traumatised.

Garrick Cooper was a close family friend of Awanuiārangi and Anihera Black's. Their children grew up together.

He said the allegations rocked those who knew Awanuiārangi, and the lack of a police decision should be the end of the matter.

"This is an opportunity for closure for many of the people that knew Awa, and I would ask Ani if she does have any evidence if she does forward that to the police and let the police do their job, but this needs to end these sort allegations over social media and other forms of media."

Mr Cooper said they were now trying to restore Mr Black's mana.

Anihera Black has said she will not withdraw the claims.

When the claims came out Ngai Te Rangi offered up an $11,000 fund for anyone who would provide information.

Mr Stanley said none of that money was used.

However, he said it did result in a number of sexual abuse victims coming forward - completely unrelated to these allegations - and this information was passed to the police.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs