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Henare wins apology from Wikipedia over blocking

By Kate Shuttleworth

National MP Tau Henare. Photo / NZPA
National MP Tau Henare. Photo / NZPA

National MP Tau Henare has won an apology from Wikipedia over changes to the website's article about him.

Anyone can edit the online encyclopaedia and John Creser, a former associate, has admitted adding descriptions on multiple occasions of Mr Henare as a "carpetbagger".

Mr Creser listed his source as a blog posting about Mr Henare having stood for New Zealand First and Mauri Pacific before National.

A New Zealand-based Wikipedia content editor known as Gadfium confirmed a user under the name Jcreser was contacted after repeatedly adding the term "carpetbagger" to Mr Henare's listing. He said the "slur" had only a blog as a reference.

"Blogs are not considered reliable sources on Wikipedia. After discussions and warnings he continued adding the slur and other information which was not supported by the references he added, and was blocked for a week."

A second user, under the name HenareT, then started editing the page. Gadfium said the changes had some similarity and blocked that account thinking it was the same person.

"I thought it was Jcreser creating a new account to avoid the block placed on him and indefinitely blocked it."

In the transcript of the history of changes made to the Tau Henare Wikipedia page, Jcreser has made 10 and HenareT two.

Gadfium said he may have made a mistake by blocking HenareT.

"John Creser has now denied operating the HenareT account, and I have unblocked it with an apology," he said.

Mr Creser is unrepentant about his use of the "carpetbagger" term.

"It's not a slur, it's the truth," he said. "It's not just backed up by a blogger, it's about 50 or 60 different commentators if you look at it closely."

Mr Henare confirmed his Wikipedia user name was HenareT and admitted making changes, but only to information about his family.

He removed a reference to his grandfather because it should have referred to his great-grandfather and changed the date of his great-grandfather's tenure in Parliament.

"I changed a reference to me being involved in Mana Motuhake; I was never involved in Mana Motuhake."

Wikipedia advises people not to edit articles about them "because it is very difficult to be neutral in writing about oneself".

- APNZ

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