Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Police look into potential offending by Harris in NZ

UK prosecutors allege the Australian entertainer abused two girls while visiting

The Wiggles have digitally removed Rolf Harris from their version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down.
The Wiggles have digitally removed Rolf Harris from their version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down.

Further inquiries about Rolf Harris' potential offending in New Zealand are being carried out by the New Zealand police.

A police spokesman confirmed yesterday staff were "seeking clarification from the Metropolitan Police about any potential offending by Harris in this country".

The 84-year-old was found guilty on 12 charges of indecent assault against four young victims on Tuesday at the British Southwark Crown Court. A Kiwi woman gave evidence during the trial, describing Harris as a "disgusting, vile" man who assaulted her when she was a teenager in 1970.

Harris visited New Zealand in 1986 to campaign against child abuse. He spoke to school children in Hamilton to help raise awareness around the problem. His visit was part of prevention agency Parentline's campaign.

Since the allegations against Harris emerged, it has been reported more of his victims, including women from New Zealand and Australia, have come forward.

The prosecution also alleged Harris abused two girls while in New Zealand, however the claims were deemed to be outside the jurisdiction of the court and did not form part of the charges.

Harris' 12 sex-abuse convictions relate to offending between 1968 and 1986.

The New Zealand police said any further information it received about Harris, who has been supported by his wife Alwen Hughes and daughter Bindi Nicholls during the trial, would be assessed to determine whether any further steps were required.

Meanwhile, organisations have moved to distance themselves from the former entertainer, with popular children's group The Wiggles confirming he had been digitally removed from the group's CDs and DVDs he featured in.

Harris did a version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down with the group -- which this year added New Zealand radio personality Robert Rakete as its fifth official member.

"The Wiggles never worked directly with Harris," a spokeswoman for the group said.

"Harris recorded and filmed the song alone, in fact the four Wiggles weren't even in the same country as Harris when the filming took place."

Rakete, who co-host's the breakfast show on The Breeze, said: "If anyone has any concerns around the behaviour of Rolf Harris, I would absolutely encourage them to go to the police ... or the relevant authorities."

Australian media have reported Harris has been stripped of his Aria Hall of Fame induction, and British media reports indicate it is likely he will also lose his CBE.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has also confirmed his fellowship with the organisation, awarded two years ago, would be removed.

Harris is due to be sentenced tomorrow, and the judge has indicated jail time is likely.

Read more about the two sides of Rolf Harris here

- NZ Herald

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