22 Mar 2011

Teacher denies assaulting pupils

6:59 pm on 22 March 2011

A teacher at a school near Hastings has vigorously denied ever assaulting his young pupils.

Wi Derek Huata faces 10 charges in the Napier District Court of assaulting children under the age of 14, and two of assault using a weapon at the kura kaupapa school in 2008.

The 53-year-old accused faces seven charges of pulling the ears of pupils, three of kicking them, and one each of using a ruler and a chair as a weapon.

Mr Huata gave evidence on Tuesday, saying there was no basis to the allegations.

He told the court that the children were visual rather than oral learners, and sometimes he had to gently touch their ear to make them focus on what he was saying.

Mr Huata says he used two-metre-long rulers as teaching aids and that the suggestion by the Crown that he hit pupils with them is "ridiculous".

He will continue giving evidence on Wednesday.

Earlier, the court heard more evidence from pupils at the Maori immersion school of the ways they say the teacher assaulted them.

A nine-year-old boy told the court that Matua Derek, as the children called him, smacked him hard on the back with a plastic ruler when he was sitting on the mat in class.

The boy said he was kicked, and also had his ears pulled many times when the accused thought he was talking.

He said Matua Derek also hurt other children in class, but if they were good he wouldn't hit them.