Hawke's Bay rapist and murderer Sam Te Hei has been granted parole after serving 30 years behind bars.

Te Hei, 55, was serving a life sentence for the murder of Napier teenager Colleen Burrows, whose body was found on a riverbank on the outskirts of Napier on the morning of June 19, 1987.

Ms Burrows, 16, had been raped and murdered the day prior by Te Hei and other Mongrel Mob associates and was found about the same time as the unrelated abduction of 6-year-old Teresa Cormack just a few kilometres away in suburban Maraenui.

Seven years later Te Hei and his brother Warren were involved in a vicious attack on a fellow inmate in Auckland Men's Prison, after which he was sentenced to a finite term of 12 years' imprisonment for attempted murder.


He will be released in April under a range of special conditions which include not being able to live in Hawke's Bay and not to associate with the Mongrel Mob or his brother Warren without prior written consent of his probation officer.

Ms Burrows' mother Ida Hawkins opposed Te Hei's release.

The Parole report noted Te Hei acknowledged he continued to have Mongrel Mob affiliations and was probably a lifetime member.

However he did not want to associated with gang members in the community, recognising it was a high risk situation, and wanted to make changes from his previous violent lifestyle for the sake of his grandchildren, the report read.

"He also plans to have his heavy facial tattoos lasered. He was less sure about the tattoos on his hands. As they clearly identify him as a Mongrel Mob member, he needs to think carefully about having those removed too, if he truly wants to distance himself from that gang."

The Parole Board acknowledged Te Hei had taken a long time to address the causes of his offending and that over the years his risk of reoffending had "reduced remarkably".

"In all the circumstances, we are satisfied that Mr Te Hei's risk of re-offending can be managed in the community to the point where it is not undue, provided he complies with the conditions which we will impose."

Te Hei was one of two men convicted of the rape and murder Ms Burrows.


Under legislation at the time, both men were eligible apply for parole after 10 years and the second convicted man was released in 1998.

In 2000 he was one of nine prisoners awarded compensation collectively totalling over $300,000 for ill-treatment at the hands of prison officers.