A convicted paedophile who worked on kids' TV show What Now and now faces serious child sexual abuse image charges also worked with minors at NZ Football, the Herald on Sunday can reveal.

This is despite the sex offender's bail conditions prohibiting contact with children while he awaits trial to keep vulnerable young people safe.

NZ Football was only alerted this week by the Herald on Sunday and says it is "deeply disturbed" by the revelations.

It confirmed the man was contracted by production company 90 Seconds to help with promotional work to do with kids learning football skills.


The sporting organisation said it was furious the company did not alert affected parties once it learned about the man's criminal background in March this year.

"We were deeply disturbed to find out this week that [someone] contracted by 90 Seconds was prohibited from working with children.

"It is our expectation that they should have carried out appropriate background checks and the fact 90 Seconds didn't do this is extremely concerning.

"We have discovered that 90 Seconds have known this individual's criminal history since March 2020 but not told affected parties which is absolutely appalling."

NZ Football said it understood it was one of several organisations, including sporting organisations, which had been exposed to the man through his contract work with 90 Seconds.

"This raises huge concerns that other parties may not have been notified, something we urge 90 Seconds to rectify immediately."

Children who were involved with the promotional work, which took place last year, had been fully supervised by police-vetted NZ Football staff at all time, as well as parents.

"Following the [work] no concerns were raised, however, we have apologised to the parents and children involved."


90 Seconds founder Tim Norton has also apologised, telling the Herald on Sunday the company was shocked to learn of the man's background.

But Norton is questioning why authorities let a paroled sex predator continue working in the community while before the courts on child exploitation charges.

"I was upset, frustrated and concerned to learn that this offender was still in the community, so long after being charged with something so serious, and with a convicted history."

The man - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was jailed several years ago for sexually abusing underage girls.

Despite his criminal history, he was hired by production company Whitebait Media after his release to work on What Now, giving him access to at least 10 schools.

The Herald on Sunday's publisher NZME has launched its own investigation after it emerged the company had also contracted the man on events.

Jason Gunn and wife Janine Morrell-Gunn own Whitebait Media.
Jason Gunn and wife Janine Morrell-Gunn own Whitebait Media.

Whitebait Media, which is co-owned by former children's presenter Jason Gunn and his wife Janine Morrell-Gunn, ended the man's contract in May last year after he was arrested on the Auckland set of another popular television show following a Customs swoop.

Court documents allege investigators found thousands of image and video files on the man's electronic devices depicting graphic abuse of young children, bestiality and torture.

The search also allegedly found a small amount of drugs, school uniforms, bags of girls' underwear, a collection of sex toys and an assortment of whips and restraints.

The man has pleaded not guilty to the Customs charges.

Norton said the company had used the contractor on numerous occasions, including once after his May 2019 arrest.

The company confirmed it learned of the man's background in March 2020.

90 Seconds founder Tim Norton says he was shocked to learn of the man's background and upset to have hired him to work alongside children. Photo / Supplied
90 Seconds founder Tim Norton says he was shocked to learn of the man's background and upset to have hired him to work alongside children. Photo / Supplied

He said it was terrible knowing the man had worked alongside kids.

"This is a grave error on our part, and I sincerely apologise to all parents and children who were present."

As per safety protocols, he said no children were left alone with the man as there was adult supervision on-site at all times.

Norton said the company was now implementing a rigorous new screening process for all new staff and adding new safety measures to protect women and children.

It was also trying to contact affected parties to apologise personally.

The Herald on Sunday asked police and Customs who was responsible for monitoring the man's bail conditions and what monitoring had been undertaken.


Police referred inquiries to Customs, as they were the prosecuting body.

A Customs spokesperson said Customs worked closely with police to investigate and address any breaches that might arise while a defendant was on bail.

"We cannot provide any further comments while this case is before the court."

Whitebait Media has apologised for hiring the man on What Now and says it now vets all workers who have contact with children.