Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Well-known Kiwi actor accused of sex crimes named as Shortland Street actor Rene Naufahu

Rene Naufahu, 46, today abandoned his bid to keep his name a secret. Photo taken outside court last year / Doug Sherring
Rene Naufahu, 46, today abandoned his bid to keep his name a secret. Photo taken outside court last year / Doug Sherring

The actor accused of numerous sex crimes during acting classes he led can be named for the first time.

Name suppression for former Shortland Street actor Rene Naufahu lapsed at 9am today after he abandoned his bid to keep his name a secret.

The 46-year-old, an original cast member who played Sam Aleni on the Kiwi soap, has denied 14 counts of indecent assault and two charges of sexual violation between 2010 and 2013 against six women.

Rene Naufahu when he first appeared on Shortland Street in the 1990s.
Rene Naufahu when he first appeared on Shortland Street in the 1990s.

At a name suppression hearing at the Auckland District Court last month, Judge David Sharp lifted Naufahu's name suppression at the actor's request. He ordered it lapse at 9am.

Naufahu said he had made the decision not to seek further suppression.

"Suppression was only ever reluctantly sought by me to preserve my ability to continue to work and to try and minimise the disruption on my family who I love.

"I did not seek suppression to hide from these allegations. I don't.

"I now no longer seek suppression with my family's support. I am pleased to be able to make this decision and I know that it is right. I am quite prepared to confront these charges openly and will do so."

He said he was confident that he would "not be judged" until all the relevant facts are known.

"I thank those who continue to support me."

Last year, Naufahu's trial was suddenly aborted after two days of evidence for reasons that cannot be reported.

Before the proceedings were halted, the jury heard evidence from two of the women, who have permanent name suppression, including one Naufahu had a brief extra-marital affair with.

Naufahu as Sam Aleni in Shortland Street when he returned in March 2014. Photo / South Pacific Pictures
Naufahu as Sam Aleni in Shortland Street when he returned in March 2014. Photo / South Pacific Pictures

The alleged offending happened during acting classes led by the actor.

The defence said the sexual assaults never happened and the women had conspired together after one of them felt slighted because he'd ended their affair.

He is next due to appear in court next month .

Naufahu rose to fame starring as Sam the ambulance officer in the original cast of Shortland Street before moving on to act in the Power Rangers television series.

Proud of our @4_13athletes brother Rene! Today he was baptized alongside his wife and kids! Privileged to walk the journey with you uso. Much love from your 4:13 family. Standing with your through it all Luke 3:21-22 After all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized. As he was praying, the sky opened up and the Holy Spirit, like a dove descending, came down on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life." (4:13 Athletes is all about empowering Christians and non Christians who are excelling in professional sport or are up and coming/talented, these nights are all about encouraging us to go to the field, court or arena to perform for an audience of one - The one who matters the most.) #occupyallfields #413athletes #church #god #jesus #holyspirit #favor #savior #talent #blessed #praise #worship #community #discipleship #brotherhood #family #sisterhood #athletes #testimony #baptism

A post shared by 4:13 Athletes NZ (@4_13athletes) on

He returned to Shortland Street in 2014 for four months until July. He returned for an episode in October 2014.

In 2006, he won best supporting actor in the film No.2 at the Air New Zealand Screen Awards.

Over the weekend, it appears Naufahu has been baptised alongside his wife and children.

In a social media post by the group 4:13 Athletes, Rene Naufahu can be seen in a pool with two other men.

The post read: "Proud of our @4_13athletes brother Rene! Today he was baptized alongside his wife and kids! Privileged to walk the journey with you uso. Much love from your 4:13 family. Standing with your through it all."

It then included a bible verse from Luke 3:21-22​.

The group says its mission is to empower "Christians and non Christians who are excelling in professional sport or are up and coming/talented, these nights are all about encouraging us to go to the field, court or arena to perform for an audience of one - The one who matters the most".

- NZ Herald

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