Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Te reo assault: Court says she pleaded guilty; she says she didn't

Shona Louise Maiden approached media claiming she had five teeth knocked out by a man outside the 123 Casino Karaoke Bar, in Howick. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Shona Louise Maiden approached media claiming she had five teeth knocked out by a man outside the 123 Casino Karaoke Bar, in Howick. Photo / Jason Oxenham

An Auckland woman who claimed she was punched for speaking Te Reo outside a bar says she is standing by her story of an unprovoked attack.

However, the courts today confirmed 46-year-old Shona Louise Maiden had pleaded guilty to assaulting the man involved, which allegedly led to his retaliation.

Maiden approached media claiming she had five teeth knocked out by a man outside the 123 Casino Karaoke Bar, in Howick, after New Year's celebrations there.

Maiden, who is of European and Maori descent, said she said "ka kite ano" (see you later) to people standing outside the pub and was confronted by Ernest Opai who asked why a "palagi" would use such words.

The Howick mother of four told the Herald he then punched her several times -- knocking out five teeth, cracking her top plate and leaving her unable to eat.

But just days after she went public with her allegations, police said CCTV footage of the incident told a different story.

"The version of events given by the 46-year-old female is not substantiated by this footage ... a decision has been made to prosecute [her] and a 43-year-old male," police said.

Maiden was due to appear in Manukau District Court on an assault charge this morning but the court today confirmed the matter had been heard yesterday, when she pleaded guilty to attacking Opai.

A sentencing date in March has been set but Maiden today told the Herald she had not pleaded guilty and the judge believed the stories were "twisted".

She said she was standing by her original version of events and would not comment further.

"I don't want to be in the media anymore. The news has embarrassed my children," she said.

A staffer at 123 Casino Karaoke Bar, who asked not to be named, told the Herald the incident happened as staff were cleaning up following New Year's Eve celebrations and they only reviewed the video footage when Maiden sought media coverage.

"The CCTV footage -- the policeman saw it himself -- and he goes, 'Oh yeah, her story's wrong'."

The footage showed Maiden speaking with a man who was smoking outside.

Words were exchanged, then she slapped him on the head. But the man did not retaliate.

The staffer said moments later Maiden was pictured punching the man.

"Then, I think, he couldn't take it from there."

"She punched him clean in the face and it pushed him back," the staffer said. "He stumbled backwards. The police watched it over and over again ... It was a big hit."

Opai will appear in Manukau District Court tomorrow on a charge of male assaults female.

- NZ Herald

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