A woman has denied laundering large amounts of cash over nearly four years derived from an alleged major methamphetamine drug ring in Rotorua and Auckland.

The woman, Paula Aroha Toleafoa, 44, from Auckland, appeared in the Rotorua District Court today and pleaded not guilty to two charges of depositing cash derived from proceeds of a serious offence.

She had interim name suppression following her first appearance last month, which lapsed today. The charges relate to alleged offending between April 2015 and December 2018 in Rotorua and elsewhere in New Zealand.

She and three others were arrested in December following a police operation in Rotorua and Auckland that saw about $420,000 worth of methamphetamine and $380,000 in cash and assets seized by police.


At the request of her lawyer, Tim Braithwaite, Judge Greg Hollister-Jones removed two bail conditions, including not to enter Rotorua and a curfew.

She was remanded on bail to reappear for a case review hearing on March 22.

Paula Toleafoa is jointly charged with her husband, Luther Lloyd Toleafoa, 40, a childcare worker from Auckland, who also appeared in court today .

As well as the two money laundering charges, Luther Toleafoa pleaded not guilty to 50 other charges ranging from threatening grievous bodily harm and offering to supply and supplying methamphetamine from April to December last year.

He was remanded in custody to reappear on January 24 for a bail application and to plead to three new charges. His case review hearing will be held on March 22.

Ngongotahā man Paul Tamai, 56, pleaded not guilty to 17 methamphetamine-related charges and was remanded in custody for a case review hearing on March 22.

He faces new charges laid today relating to firearms and participating in an organised criminal group but his lawyer, Bill Lawson, said he had not had the chance to look at those and asked they be addressed at his client's bail application hearing this Friday.

Judge Hollister-Jones remanded him in custody to reappear on Friday for bail application.


His son, Dick Dekin Tamai, 39, appeared today and pleaded not guilty to 17 methamphetamine-related charges.

He was remanded in custody for a bail application on January 22, where he would plead to new firearms-related charges also laid today.