Convicted rapist Mike Tyson has brushed off criticism from John Key, saying there is nothing the Prime Minister can do about his entry to New Zealand.

The former world heavyweight boxing champion, 46, will present his Day of the Champions talk in Auckland on November 15.

He was granted a visa despite serving three years of a six-year sentence for raping an 18-year-old woman in 1992. Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson gave his application special dispensation.

Mr Key said the visa decision was "a line ball call".


Speaking from Las Vegas yesterday, Tyson said: "Fortunately, I am coming to New Zealand and there's nothing they can do about it and I'm so sorry, I'm sorry they feel disappointed and I'm just living my life."

He was not sure what to expect on his first visit to New Zealand but wanted to meet Maori - citing his facial tattoo, which he said was inspired by the culture.

"Other than that I've never heard of Maori people so I'm looking forward to come down there and see them. I've never been there before so it'll be pretty interesting to go there."

Audiences will pay up to $395 for Tyson's show at Vector Arena.

"They'll hear about a gentleman who started off on the wrong side of the street and he built his way up and destroyed himself and tore himself down and he built himself up and down and at the end of the day he made it."

When asked if he was a good role model, Tyson said it was not a label he chose but one he tried to live up to.

"You have to be a role model if you want to or not."