Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

High-risk offender put near another school

Worried father teaches 6-year-old daughter how to hurt someone if she's grabbed.
The convicted rapist was released from prison to temporary accommodation near the grounds of Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae, and is now living near Jean Batten Primary School. Photo / Michael Craig
The convicted rapist was released from prison to temporary accommodation near the grounds of Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae, and is now living near Jean Batten Primary School. Photo / Michael Craig

A "high risk" sex offender housed metres from a Auckland school has been moved after a public outcry - to near another school.

The convicted rapist, who has temporary name suppression, was released from prison last month to temporary accommodation near the grounds of Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae in Mangere East, sparking outrage when the school was not told.

Kura pupils said they filmed the man making hand and tongue gestures to them.

The man has since been moved - and is now living near Jean Batten Primary School in Mangere.

Parent Sauni Seleni told the Weekend Herald a school newsletter alerted him to the man's presence. A Corrections manager later told him the former inmate was living 70m-90m from the school.

"I know this person is part of society, but we are not safe to have this person there and he's not safe to be there ... take him away from schools.

It's like putting a dog beside meat and telling it not to take it."

The manager told him the arrangement was permanent and the man was under 24-hour guard by two people and monitored by a bracelet, but he was still nervous, Seleni said. "I'm teaching my 6-year-old daughter how to hurt people because I'm not there 24/7. I said to her, 'If someone grabs your hand you bite the hand and scream for help.'

"My wife said, 'Why are you teaching her this?' I said, 'Do you want me to pick her up from the hospital or pick up her dead body'?"

Corrections consider the man "a very high risk of imminent violent offending" and applied for a public protection order to make him live on prison grounds after his compulsory release from prison.

That was turned down by a High Court judge, who instead imposed an extended supervision order for seven years, including one year of intensive monitoring.

I know this person is part of society, but he's not safe to be there.
Sauni Seleni, parent

Jean Batten principal Jeff Bruce said he was concerned, but Corrections had informed the school and supported it well.

He was told the man was living 300m-400m from the school, but security measures made it "sound a bit like a public prison".

Their newsletter included guidance for parents and the school was revisiting its own safety protocols.

Corrections northern operations director Lynette Cave said public safety was their first priority.

"A significant amount of preparation goes into approving a suitable address. No address would be approved if we considered it presented an unmanageable risk to the safety of the community."

Security measures included a 2m fence, locks and alarms, and alerting five school principals and immediate neighbours, Cave said.

- Herald on Sunday

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