Jackson: Tyson a changed man

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Broadcaster says former boxer's terrible past will resonate with troubled Maori youth.

Mike Tyson could have a positive message for youngsters, says Willie Jackson (left). Photos / APN
Mike Tyson could have a positive message for youngsters, says Willie Jackson (left). Photos / APN

Outspoken broadcaster Willie Jackson says allowing Mike Tyson to speak in front of troubled Maori youth could be one of the best things for them.

Jackson came out in full support of the convicted rapist and former boxer and drug addict after Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson revoked his visa this month.
A second application by Tyson has also been refused.

The Manukau Urban Maori Authority, which Jackson chairs, has since invited Tyson to speak to Maori at a South Auckland marae - an idea that has been slammed by politicians.

In a Herald comment article today, Jackson said the women on the board of the authority - including his mother, Dame June Jackson - had been immensely supportive of Tyson coming to their marae.

Referring to Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, who has been very vocal about her disdain for Tyson entering the country, Jackson said she and "her ilk" had focused on Tyson's past.

The board, however, had invited a changed man.

"Tyson's dysfunctional upbringing is similar to many of those with whom we work," he said.

"For them, the opportunity of having Tyson reflect on his experiences, motivate our youth to stay out of trouble and find positive ways of using their talents would be hugely beneficial to our community."

Jackson's support for Tyson has been heavily criticised by Ms Turei and Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples, who said he did not want Maori youth hearing Tyson's "toxic message". There were many positive Kiwi role models who could inspire youngsters, he said.

Jackson said, however, that sometimes a person who had been through a troublesome past would speak louder to troubled youth.

"Someone who has had a terrible past can help immensely with their tales of where they've gone wrong and how they've struggled to get back on to the right track."

- APNZ

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