Iti tweeted this pic of himself enjoying a cappuccino
following his release from prison this morning.
Veteran Maori rights activist Tame Iti says he holds no
animosity towards the Crown for his stay in prison.
Iti was released on parole about 5.30am today having served
nine months of a two and a half year prison sentence.
He was found guilty during a trial last year of six firearms
charges and not guilty of four, stemming from a police raid
in the Urewera Ranges in 2007 that led to the arrest of 18
Iti, who appeared jovial and fit-looking, was welcomed this
morning on to Hukanui marae, on the outskirts of Hamilton,
where he took his mother Te Inuwai Iti's kawe mate as part of
the tangi process.
He told media he was looking forward to visiting relatives in
Rotorua this afternoon before returning to his home in
Ruatoki for a feed of mutton birds, and where his parole
conditions state he must live.
Asked if he held any resentment for his incarceration, Iti
replied; "Not at all".
"You just move on ... kaore oku raruraru (I don't have any
problems with it)."
Iti said he was saddened by the number of young Maori men he
met while in jail, and he plans to work more with the
Department of Corrections to aid inmates.
He spent time working in the prison's garage earning 20 cents
an hour, before moving to a prison farm where his pay doubled
to 40 cents an hour.
He was also looking forward to writing a book about being a
political prisoner, and training for the Iron Maori event
that will take place in the Hawke's Bay later this year.
Iti's lawyer Russell Fairbrother said he had applied for
leave to appeal to The Supreme Court.
"The Crown has responded and the court is now considering
whether to grant leave."
"There are two considerations; one is a point of law and
public interest - we think we cover both bases."
Iti's son, Wairere Iti, told Newstalk ZB this morning the
process, including his father's incarceration and trial, had
been six years in the making.
"There's still the Supreme Court and that kind of thing, and
it has at times been quite trying - the sentencing
The Parole Board decision said Iti had shown leadership
qualities in prison, and was described as a role model
Iti spent his time in prison working with other inmates. He
was in the Maori focus unit there, so ... he was able to
contribute to that kind of stuff really easily, obviously,
and be a good influence to some of the inmates," Wairere Iti
Iti's co-offender, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, will also be
released next week.
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.