22 Feb 2012

Witnesses shocked to be confronted by guns

4:53 pm on 22 February 2012

A man who attended a training camp in Te Urewera National Park says he was shocked when he was confronted by people with guns.

Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhira Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey are on trial accused of being part of an organised criminal group and of unlawful possession of firearms.

The man, 21, who has name suppression, has told the jury at their trial in the High Court at Auckland he and his brother were asked to wear blindfolds and hide their identities on the way into the camp in January 2007.

His 19-year-old brother, who also can not be named, said shots were fired and they were ordered to get on the ground by people with guns.

Both witnesses said the welcome took them by surprise.

During cross-examination by defence lawyers the 21-year-old said he got the impression the group was not that serious.

The Crown claims they were planning to create a revolutionary army that would use guerrilla warfare.

The 21-year-old witness said he was told he was being taken into the bush to speak to young people about fitness and nutrition.

But he told the court that Mr Iti asked him to wear a mask and that when they arrived shots were fired. He said they were ordered to get on the ground and were searched by people with guns.

The other witness,19, said the group was spoken to about healthy eating and shown some fitness techniques.

During cross examination by defence lawyers, the 21-year-old agreed the welcome was an exercise rather than anything serious.