A man accused of rape, who left New Zealand after obtaining a new passport while dressed as a woman, has been extradited after nearly eight years on the run.
The 42-year-old arrived at Auckland International Airport on Air New Zealand flight NZ991 from Apia yesterday morning. He was taken out a side door and into a waiting police car, and later appeared in Auckland District Court where he was granted interim name suppression.
A Justice of the Peace said the accused faced a charge of rape over the alleged 2005 incident. It's alleged a 20-year-old woman was attacked while sleeping at a friend's home on Waiheke Island.
The Samoan national was remanded in custody and will reappear tomorrow.
In 2005, he was charged and released on bail. He was then granted a passport under a different name while dressed as a woman, an act of cross-dressing known by Samoans as fa'afafine.
An extradition warrant was sent to Samoan authorities last month and the man, who had been working at a resort as a fire dancer, was arrested on February 7.
Detective Sergeant Stephen Ambler flew with another officer to Samoa on Thursday to extradite him.
During his eight years on the run, the man travelled to the United States before returning to Samoa and marrying.
An arrest warrant was issued by Interpol several years ago.
Ambler said police would oppose bail at his next appearance.