Tame Iti granted parole

Tuhoe activist Tame Iti has had his Valentine's Day wish granted with the Parole Board showing him "some love".

He will be freed on parole in a little over a week's time, having served nine months of a two and a-half year jail term.

He and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara were sentenced to two and half years in prison after being found guilty during a trial last year of six firearms charges and not guilty of four.

The Parole Board will release Iti from prison in a little over a week's time.

A spokeswoman said the board was satisfied Iti no longer posed a risk to the community.

Iti will be subject to conditions but the board will not release those before the full decision is released in the next two days.

Late last month Iti tweeted through family members his hope for release: "As it is valentines day...I wonder if the parole board will show me some love."

During his sentencing in the High Court at Auckland last May, Justice Rodney Hansen said the only appropriate sentence could be one of jail. He described the rama or camps where people were trained in military exercises.

While defence lawyers had said the camps had been opportunities to learn bushcraft and skills to get security work, Justice Hansen said the jury rejected those explanations.

"In my view, they were utterly implausible."

He said it was a mystery why Iti had devoted so much time and money to developing "military capability" when he had been actively involved in Tuhoe negotiations before the Waitangi Tribunal.

He said while there were elements of the TV comedy show Dad's Army about the training, the intent was serious.

"As I view the evidence, in effect a private militia was being established. Whatever the justification, that is a frightening prospect in our society, undermining of our democratic institutions and anathema to our way of life."

He said the actions had damaged the "growing but fragile" trust between the Crown and Tuhoe that goes back to armed conflict in the 19th century.

Justice Hansen said there had been a focus on the damage done by the police raids in the Tuhoe region in October, 2007.

"That should not divert attention from the unlawful activities which necessitated the investigation in the first place."

Urs Signer and Emily Bailey were also found guilty of firearms charges and were sentenced to nine months' home detention, at their home in Parihaka, Taranaki.

- Edward Gay, APNZ court reporter

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Hinton Fruit and ProduceDunedin
Barrett Auto Electrics LtdBalclutha
Lund South LtdDunedinBuilders
Dr Peter Ripley, GP Minor Surgery ClinicDunedinDoctors