Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Maori King's son needs to redeem himself - Aunt Nanaia Mahuta

Judge’s ruling on Korotangi Paki to be revisited after review of case

Korotangi Paki
Korotangi Paki

The Maori King's son, Korotangi Paki needs to focus on redemption and becoming a contributing member of society, his aunt Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta says.

Her comments follow a decision by Crown Law to appeal against a judge's decision earlier this month to discharge him without conviction on charges of theft, burglary and drink driving.

The 19-year-old son of Maori King Tuheitia Paki had pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court to the charges, which related to two separate incidents in March and last October.

Sentencing judge Phillipa Cunningham let him off the charges after Mr Paki's lawyer successfully argued a conviction would ruin his chances of succeeding to the throne.

Ms Mahuta told Radio New Zealand today that Crown Law obviously felt it had grounds to appeal against the decision.

"One would only hope that the judge has made his decision based on a full set of facts and information.

"The justice system will take its course, so to speak."

The case would reflect in "some shape or form" on the Kingitanga movement, Ms Mahuta said.

"The big challenge for Korotangi is to redeem himself in a way where he does not become a reoffender, that he can lead a purposeful life and be a contributing citizen.

"I'm sure he certainly regrets his actions and the challenge for whanau by and large is to give him support."

Yesterday a statement from Crown Law spokeswoman Jan Fulstow said: "Crown Law does a very careful and thorough review of cases such as this before a decision is made.

"Having now completed a review of this case Crown Law has...filed an application in the High Court to appeal the matter."

As the case was now before the court, Crown Law would make no further comment on the matter.

Judge Cunningham said in the Auckland District Court on July 3 that she was "driven to the conclusion" that Paki would lose out on being a successor if convicted.

"There's only two sons and in my view it's important that the king at the appropriate time has the widest possible choice of a successor and it's important for Mr Paki, as one of those two sons, to have the potential to be a successor in time."

Paki's friends -- Te Ahorangi Totorewa, 20, Hamuera Wipoha Pugh, 19, and Raa Ngaru Smith, 18 -- were all discharged without conviction in Gisborne District Court over the March burglary and theft incident.

The four had stolen surfboards from a Top Ten Holiday Park and clothes from a man's car after a drinking session in March.

Judge Cunningham also praised the work Mr Paki and his friends had undertaken in terms of restorative justice and community work, as well as an on-going mentoring programme.

Path through court

• The Maori King's son was discharged without conviction this month. Crown Law is appealing against this decision.
• Korotangi Paki's lawyer successfully argued a conviction would ruin his chances of succeeding to the throne.
• The judge said she was "driven to the conclusion" that Paki would lose out on being a successor if convicted.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

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