A Tauranga trust and its chief executive are putting up an $11,000 reward for information about allegations a paedophile ring is operating in the city.
Police have confirmed they are looking into claims by Anihera Zhou Black that her ex-husband Te Awanuiārangi Black was a paedophile and part of child sex ring in Tauranga.
Awanui, 48, who died of organ failure on November 30, 2016, was highly regarded Bay of Plenty Regional councillor, and chairman of the Tauranga Moana Iwi Leaders Group.
Ngāi Te Rangi iwi chief executive Paora Stanley told the Bay of Plenty Times that he and his iwi were desperate to find out if these allegations were true.
Stanley said he got approval from the trust's chairman to put up a $10,000 reward and he had added another $1000 from his own pocket.
"The claims that there is a child sex ring in Tauranga are extremely serious accusations and we are deeply concerned if there is, in fact, a paedophile ring in our city," he said.
An emotional Stanley said if the allegations were true, it was vital people in the know came forward immediately and shared what they knew with police.
"If there are offenders out there then people have to start naming names and come forward with any information which will help the police investigation."
Stanley said the reward was being put up for people to come forward with any evidence that led to the conviction of anyone involved in the alleged child abuse ring.
"Paedophiles are the vilest people, the lowest of the low in our society and, if these allegations are true, it's crucial people speak up," he said.
"This $11,000 reward is a call for action. We have got to protect and keep our babies safe, including my mokopuna and my step-daughter," he said.
Stanley said he had started emailing the leaders of other organisations he was involved with and business leaders to ask them to match the $11,000 reward.
Stanley also told Newstalk ZB he knew Awanui as a good man but the iwi had to do what it could to help police find out the truth.
Police say no victims have yet come forward.
Detective Inspector Mark Loper said police were continuing to seek further information.
"All allegations are taken seriously and we are committed to building a relationship of trust to receive the information police need to progress this matter."
Loper said police were keen to hear from anyone who may have been affected.
"We welcome contact from anyone who wishes to share information with us about the allegations," Loper said.
"We have compassionate staff who will listen very carefully to what victims have to say.
"Any information which is given to us will be carefully assessed by specialist staff, who can also ensure the right support services are available. "