A Whangarei teacher who sexually abused two girls and
physically abused six children placed in his care by Child
Youth and Family has been jailed for over 14 years.
The sentencing judge described the man's significant
offending as a huge breach of trust that will have lifelong
effects on his victims.
Taite Hemi Kupa, 57, was sentenced in the High Court at
Whangarei today after being found guilty by a jury on three
counts of rape; six of unlawful sexual connection; and one
each of attempted rape and attempted unlawful sexual
connection. The sex convictions relate to two girls, who were
aged 10 and 14 at the time.
He was also sentenced on nine counts of assault on a child
aged under 14 and one of assault on a female (a 14-year-old
girl). The offending happened between August 2011 and
February 2013 at the Whangarei CYF family home Kupa and his
wife were in charge of.
The violence charges related to six children, including the
two girls who were also sexually abused, and involved kicking
them in the backside or pulling their ears when they were
The two girls read their victim impact statements to the
court today, with both emotionally describing the damage
Kupa's offending has had on them.
One girl said she felt guilty about the offending and had
trouble sleeping, often waking up from nightmares. Both said
Kupa was supposed to make them feel safe, but they felt
The mother of one of the abused girls said she felt guilt for
what had happened and no longer trusted CYF as her daughter
was supposed to be safe in its care.
Justice Raynor Asher said the sexual offending was serious
and involved a huge breach of trust, not just the trust of
the children, but CYF and the community that had expected him
to provide a safe home for the vulnerable children.
Justice Asher said a starting point for sentencing on the sex
offences was 15-and-a-half years' imprisonment. The rape and
unlawful sexual connection charges have maximum terms of 20
But after taking into account aggravating and mitigating
circumstances, including Kupa's previous good character, the
judge came to an end term of 14-and-a-half years'
imprisonment on the rape and unlawful sexual connection
Kupa was given seven-year terms for the attempted rape and
attempted unlawful sexual connection charges and one month
for each of the assault charges. All terms were to be served
concurrently, meaning a total end sentence of 14-and-a-half
Justice Asher also imposed a minimum jail term of seven years
and three months' jail before Kupa would become eligible for
parole. Kupa sat or stood quietly in the dock during
- By Mike Dinsdale of the Northern Advocate