A man facing three charges has been told by a Rotorua District Court judge his intention to argue he was not dealt with by police in te reo Maori will not be an adequate defence.

Tauhu Mitai-Ngatai, 58, appeared in court today facing three charges, including refusing to give police a blood sample on December 29, wilful damage and breaching court release conditions.

Mitai-Ngatai had asked the court to deal with his case in te reo however Judge Phillip Cooper said that was not possible as an interpreter wasn't able to be found in such a short time frame.

The judge said the law stated the court was required to provide an interpreter within 14 days of a request being made but Mitai-Ngatai's request was only made two days in advance.


Judge Cooper said while it was not his role to give legal advice, he told Mitai-Ngatai his intention to use the fact the police did not explain their request for a blood sample in te reo Maori was unlikely to be a defence, as he could understand English.

When the judge asked if he wanted to plead to the charges, he said "I think I better" and he entered guilty pleas.

Mitai-Ngatai, who represented himself, said he wanted to make the point people's desires to speak te reo Maori with government departments was not being taken seriously.

Judge Cooper said he understood where he was coming from and offered an interpreter to be in court when he was sentenced on February 16.

Mitai-Ngatai took the judge up on the offer and was remanded in custody until that date.