Auld Mug vandal hawks tale to media

By Amelia Wade

Sledgehammer man wants 'reasonable expenses' of $6440 for story.

Netana-Patuwa, now an actor, director and award-winning poet, said yesterday that he was now a changed man.
Netana-Patuwa, now an actor, director and award-winning poet, said yesterday that he was now a changed man.

The man who took a sledgehammer to the Auld Mug 17 years ago is looking to sell his story for almost $6500 to media organisations.

Benjamin Peri Nathan, now known by his Maori name Penehamine Netana-Patuawa, told the Herald he still had "definite views" on the regatta and had been following the races.

A year after the America's Cup became New Zealand's cup for the first time in 1995, Netana-Patuawa walked into the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron's clubrooms on Auckland's waterfront wearing a Maori sovereignty T-shirt. He pulled a hammer from his clothing, smashed the glass display case then severely damaged the world's oldest sporting trophy, all the while he chanted in Maori.

The then 28-year-old was sentenced to two years and 10 months' jail. The sentence was served in addition to an 18-month term he was serving for aggravated robbery.

The Auld Mug was sent to the original London manufacturers to be restored at a cost of $54,000.

Netana-Patuwa, now an actor, director and award-winning poet, said yesterday that he was now a changed man and had put his criminal past behind him.

"I have changed considerably since that time. That was more than 16 years ago, mate." But he still said he has an opinion on the regatta.

"I have been keeping up to the date with the latest America's Cup challenge. I have definite views regarding the cup, however, they are not necessarily the same views I held in 1997, as a significant amount of time has passed since I was involved in the Tino Rangatiratanga movement as a member of the TLRO [Tino Rangatiratanga Liberation Organisation]."

Netana-Patuawa, who lives in Northland, did not elaborate on that statement and said in order to have an indepth conversation he would expect to be reimbursed "reasonable expenses" of $6440.

He wanted the interview to happen outside the Royal Yacht Squadron's clubrooms. The expenses were $300 for petrol, $800 for two nights' accommodation for him and his partner, $400 for meals, $100 for additional expenses and $4000 for excerpts from his films, documentary and plays (plus GST on top of that).

He said he sent the offer to all mainstream media organisations, including newspapers, broadcasters and magazines.

- NZ Herald

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