Aide to Maori King loses gun licence

By Yvonne Tahana

Rangi Wallace and his fiancee are now reconciled and he has the Maori King's support, according to a spokesman. Photo / Greg Bowker
Rangi Wallace and his fiancee are now reconciled and he has the Maori King's support, according to a spokesman. Photo / Greg Bowker

King Tuheitia's private secretary, Rangi Wallace, has had his firearms licence revoked after a domestic incident at the home he shared with his fiancee.

Police were called to the home of Mr Wallace, also known by the surname Whakaruru, and his fiancee, Yvonne Koppenhagen, in Whatawhata, just outside Hamilton, on September 6.

Mr Wallace was served with a police safety order which requires any person who represents a threat to leave premises for up to five days.

The Herald understands a second safety order was issued after police were again called to the home that month.

Police sent Mr Wallace a letter telling him of their concerns and saying he was no longer considered suitable to hold a firearms licence.

Ms Koppenhagen confirmed there had been a domestic incident but said firearms were not involved. She said the confiscation of firearms was an over-reaction by the police.

She added that the pair had reconciled and were talking about getting married next year.

"It's a very difficult time in terms of everything that's happening around Rangi and myself too and his job and I'm really conscious of not saying the wrong thing."

Waikato police declined to comment because of a pending Official Information Act request about the original incident and firearms revocation. They have indicated it will be declined on privacy grounds.

In 2000, Mr Wallace was asked to take part in an anti-domestic violence campaign as he is related to James Whakaruru, the 4-year-old beaten to death by his mother's partner in 1999.

Mr Wallace was prominent in the campaign alongside former All Black Michael Jones until he admitted he had beaten his stepdaughter Jamila D'lala and her mother, Helen D'lala. Ms D'lala is also known as Helen Kotua and has also worked for the King's office as chief of protocol.

The Herald asked for comment from King Tuheitia on whether he still supported Mr Wallace as his personal secretary.

Media spokesman Kirk MacGibbon replied: "Why are you investigating an issue that was recorded on September 6? Why are you reporting on an issue which happened three months ago?"

In an email Mr MacGibbon said he would not submit any questions to the King as they were "undeserving of his time" and "muckracking journalism".

"The King's stance on domestic violence is well known. He was, of course, made aware of the facts surrounding this incident when they occurred three months ago.

"He is very supportive of Rangi and his partner in their efforts to build a future together."

- NZ Herald

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