11 Jul 2018

Iwi offers reward for info about Awanui Black claims

4:11 pm on 11 July 2018

A Tauranga iwi is fronting $10,000 reward for information about accusations that a prominent Māori leader abused children.

Paora Stanley

Paora Stanley Photo: RNZ / Justine Murray

Police say they are looking into claims that the late Tauranga leader Te Awanuiārangi Black was a paedophile.

His widow Anihera Black made the claims in a Facebook video at the weekend.

Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley said the iwi is shattered, and is desperate to find out if the allegations are true.

"I asked my chair to see whether we could put up a sum of money for anybody who could bring information to the table," he said.

"And when he asked how much, I said 'well $10k, and I will put $1000 out of my own pocket and we'll make it $11,000'."

Mr Stanley said the claims, which include that there is a child sex ring in Tauranga, are serious.

"We are deeply concerned that there may be a paedophile ring in our city.

"We are really keen on somebody coming forward to support this allegation or not."

Deputy mayor Kelvin Clout said the community should be concerned about the allegations but said child abuse was a nationwide issue.

Any potential victim should come forward and the council will pass on any information on to police, he said.

Police have not yet identified any victims.

The iwi has been pleading on social media for the past few days, encouraging people to bring any information to report it to the authorities.