Overstayers buying fake citizenship certificates from a convicted scammer have been told they will lose their right to remain in the country under Maori law if they contacted Police, Immigration or any "Pakeha" government agencies.
A Herald investigation found Amato Patira Hoani Tohu Kake Akarana-Rewi, 84, also known as Dan Davis or Chief Tupai, is back selling fake citizenship certificates despite being convicted for obtaining by deception in 2012 at the Manukau District Court.
Despite Akarana-Rewi's admission about selling the certificates, both Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and police say no action will be taken because they have received no formal complaints from those affected.
A Malaysian overstayer, who paid $200 for his Aoteaora citizenship, contacted the Herald after reading Monday's front-page report on Akarana-Rewi's scheme, to disagree that the certificates were "fake".
INZ had described the citizenship certificates as "completely worthless" and said it was the sole agency with the lawful authority to issue visas to allow people to enter or remain in New Zealand.
The man, who failed to get residency visa from INZ, said he was made a citizen of "Maori Aotearoa" at a citizenship ceremony held at Akarana-Rewi's home in Otara.
There he was introduced to the Maori Government's "Minister of Justice", who warned him against contacting any New Zealand government agencies.
"The Minister said my allegiance is now with Maori Aotearoa and not New Zealand, so I am to cease any acknowledgement of Pakeha government authority," the man said.
"Any contact with government agencies will be deemed that I accept the Pakeha system and not the Maori one."
The man was told he would lose all his rights under the Maori Government, including the right to remain in the country, if he recognised the authority of any "Pakeha government agencies" such as Police or Immigration.
The Aotearoa citizenship certificates are sold by Akarana-Rewi for between $100 and $300, mainly to people desperate to remain in New Zealand.
Buyers are told they will become citizens of Aotearoa, be allowed to stay in the country indefinitely and also be absolved from "Pakeha law", including paying taxes.
"The certificate is issued by the Maori Government, just because it is not recognised by New Zealand does not make it fake," the man insisted.
"The Maori Government does not recognise your New Zealand passport, does that mean it is also fake?"
The Malaysian man said he had no intention or reason to provide information to the police, but had "every advantage" not to.
Akarana-Rewi maintains the citizenship certificates he issues are legal under Maori law, and that Maori had retained sovereignty under the 1835 Declaration of Independence.
When the Herald went to his home on Sunday, his son Michael Akarana introduced himself as the Transport Minister of the Maori Government.
The son said he too abides by the law and jurisdiction of the Maori Government, which exonerated him from paying New Zealand road taxes and vehicle licensing fees.
Akarana-Rewi claims to be a member of the Confederation of Chiefs of the United Tribes of Aotearoa, a Samoan high chief, a Ngati Whatua elder and also a Ratana Church minister.
Now it seems Akarana-Rewi will be allowed to carry on selling the fake certificates, as long as he is able to convince his buyers and those involved from making a formal complaint to the police.
Both INZ and Police have confirmed that no action was being taken against him at this stage.
INZ spokesman Marc Piercey said no complainant has come forward to date.
The agency was not taking any action because it was considered a matter for the police.
"This is a police fraud matter and any information we get is passed to police," Piercey said.
Police said it will only respond if there were any "actionable information" received.
"Police has not received any formal complaints from individuals in relation to this matter," said police spokesman Nicholas Baker.
"We continue to encourage anyone affected to contact police directly or file a complaint and this will be dealt with by our staff appropriately."