Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Sex attack monster 'Magic Mike' jailed for 19 years

Girls were too scared to leave self-styled ‘King of Roskill’ because of his Mongrel Mob roots and threats to kill
Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia is due to be sentenced tomorrow in the High Court at Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker
Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia is due to be sentenced tomorrow in the High Court at Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

Magic Mike liked a certain type of girl: Young, vulnerable and preferably smoking dope.

He was the neighbourhood tinnie dealer who would invite teenagers in for a drink, or a joint, in the bar in the backyard of his Mt Roskill home.

"Magic used to get with a lot of young girls in the neighbourhood. I think a lot of the young girls were using him to score weed from him. Why else would a pretty young girl hang out with a scary old man that looks like him?" one neighbour told police.

"He was using them and they were using him."

Once the girls were tangled up in Magic Mike's world, they would suffer cruelly at his hands with near-daily beatings and rape.

No one remembers why he is called Magic Mike. And for more than 30 years, from the early 1980s until his arrest in 2014, Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia was able to get away with it.

The girls were too scared to leave the self-styled "King of Roskill", mainly because of his Mongrel Mob roots and threats to kill. Others saw the black and blue injuries of his victims but stayed quiet. It was none of their business.

Te Huia, now 56, was today sentenced at the High Court at Auckland to 19 years in prison after being found guilty of 21 charges of sexual and physical violence against three women.

He will not be eligible for parole until he serves half his senetnce.

Justice Ailsa Duffy said Te Huia, known as Magic Mike, subjected his three victims to decades of prolonged sexual and physical violence with a "callous" sense of entitlement. "In short, you bullied them relentlessly."

The trial evidence was traumatic. Holding a gun to the head of one woman. Smashing her face with a chain. Countless beatings and forced sex. Choking and suffocation. Two women, so frightened of the violence promised to them, they jumped from moving cars. One of them locked inside a bedroom for a week.

On and on and on.

"I thought Magic was cool as when I first met him but later when I got to know him ... I was lured in and then he changed and turned into a monster," one of his victims told police.

She was a teenager when she met Te Huia, he was in his 40s. His first victim was 15 - he was 26. The third was also 15 and in the care of Child Youth and Family. Te Huia was closer to 50.

There was a clear pattern. Groom the girls to establish friendship, build trust, then ply them with booze and drugs. Once the bond was strong, the relationship would become sexual - then violent.

One of his victims described him as a "sex maniac" who would "help himself" if she wanted to, or not.

During the trial, Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey pressed the woman about her tactic of wearing layers of clothes to bed.

"I'd wear jeans with a belt, couple of pairs of track pants, I'd wear a hoodie so I can tie it up, I'd wrap myself up in a blanket ... just so it would be harder to take off, longer to take off, you know what I mean?" she told the jury.

All three women gave evidence of waking up to find Te Huia having sex with them.

But it doesn't appear Magic Mike is owning up to decades of cruelty.

Following the guilty verdicts in March, Te Huia was interviewed by a probation officer for a report for the judge to read ahead of the sentence hearing.

The writer said Te Huia steadfastly maintains his innocence, did not express remorse or empathy for the victims but claimed their allegations stemmed from earlier abuse at the hands of others. "I feel sorry for them, I forgive them," Te Huia is quoted as saying.

The report said Te Huia was controlling in the interview, frequently talking over the writer, and insisting on his statements being transcribed verbatim.

"He depicted himself in high regard ... This demonstration illustrated more as him having an inflated sense of self-worth and entitlement."

This ego was apparent even when selling weed, according to court files obtained by the Herald.

"Michael is a real talker, he loves the sound of his own voice and thinks he knows everything," one Mt Roskill resident told police. "Anyone who went to him to purchase [cannabis] would first be sat down and talked to for ages about anything that was on his mind. I think he thought he was Dr Phil.

"Some of the younger kids in the area thought Mike was quite cool. He portrayed himself as the King of Roskill, the big man, the drug dealer, but I know him as a coward."

The cruel streak emerged at a young age.

At the age of 14, Te Huia "sadistically killed" a mouse and puppy. Later, he attacked family members with weapons and detonated petrol bombs.

In 1978, Te Huia was sentenced to 18 months in prison for assaults on a 3-year-old boy and his mother, whom he was in a relationship with.

"He threw the boy on to the footpath, hit his head against the corner of the house, punched him in the stomach then pushed his head down the toilet," said the police file. "On another occasion, he shoved a scalding flannel into the boy's mouth and burnt him with a cigarette."

Yet, from the mid 1980s, violence does not feature in Te Huia's criminal record. This is seen by others as proof of his ability to manipulate, as well as instil fear.

"Michael is great at putting on a facade. He can pretend to be anything or anyone that suits the situation," said one neighbour. "He will be squeaky clean when talking to authorities, but then turns into the big man criminal when talking to the young kids in the neighbourhood."

Those who looked hard enough at Te Huia, say they caught glimpses of his true self. More than one witness mentioned his eyes.

"He has cold empty eyes," one told police, "and sometimes he just looks evil."

'Magic Mike'

• Michael Te Arawaka Te Huia
• Aged 56
21 convictions against 3 women:
• Threatening to kill (x3)
• Assault with blunt weapon (x3)
• Unlawful sexual connection (x6)
• Male assaults female (x7)
• Kidnapping (x1)
• Injures with intent (x1).

- NZ Herald

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