Dompost on Iti

Dominion Post

The Dominion post is suitably blunt about the raving loonies who think we are living in a Police state and Tame Iti is a freedom fighter.

 It is too much to hope that the sentencing of the “Urewera Four” will end a divisive affair that has dragged on for too long, but it should.

By using firearms at military-style training camps in the Ureweras, Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey broke the law. They did so repeatedly and in a manner that damaged relations between the Crown and the Tuhoe people. The Independent Police Conduct Authority has yet to rule on the police conduct of the raids that terrified the residents of the eastern Bay of Plenty township of Ruatoki but, whatever it finds, the ultimate responsibility for the raids rests with the four convicted of firearms offences. If they, and others, had not been playing at soldiers in the bush and taking part in alarming discussions, the raids would not have occurred.

The facts, as set out during sentencing by Justice Rodney Hansen, are these: in January, September and October 2007 Iti organised, and the others participated in, a series of camps, or rama, near Ruatoki. During the camps semi-automatic weapons, sawn-off shotguns, and sporting rifles were fired. In addition, Molotov cocktails were made and thrown at one of the camps. When police terminated their surveillance operation, three rifles, two of them semi-automatic, were found under a tarpaulin at Iti’s Ruatoki house, four rifles and a semi-automatic shotgun were found in the boot of Kemara’s car and in a caravan he occupied, and a .22 rifle was found in a backpack at a Wellington campsite occupied by Signer and Bailey.

The explanations proffered by defence counsel for the camps and the use of firearms  that participants were being taught bushcraft and survival skills or that they were being trained for employment in the security industry  were dismissed by the judge as “utterly implausible”.

I wonder what the elft wing would say if Kyle Chapman was the one running around the bush planning to shoot Maori?

A crime committed in pursuit of laudable objectives is just as much a crime as a crime committed for base motives. Those who have rushed to defend Iti and his fellows should ask themselves how they would react if a group of white supremacists was found to be covertly preparing for guerilla warfare.

The judge sentenced Iti and Kemara to two-and-a-half-years’ imprisonment. He indicated he was prepared to consider a sentence of nine months’ home detention for Signer and Bailey provided a suitable address could be found. They had played a lesser role in the offending.

The sentences are just. They serve as a warning not just to Iti and his fellows, but to others of all political persuasions that political activity must fall within the bounds of the law.

The rule of law depends upon all being equal before the law.



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  • Phar Lap

    Yet Iti’s Lawyer  a wastrel from the Lie-bour Party who got booted out of his electoral seat in Napier.He just loves sucking off the public tit.First in Parliament ,now in Legal aid ,as he puts in a scurrilous appeal on behalf of the found guilty little udder cup Iti.The lawyers name Russell Farerobber,or something that sounds like that.The Lie-bour reject seems to have a permanent sense of entitlement,paid of course by the taxpayer.

    • niggly

      I don’t get Russell Fairbrother – is he living in la-la land (now with the appeal etc) …. or is he, as you say, milking the system?

  • LB

    Tame Iti is not applying for legal aid for his appeal.

  • toby_toby

    They broke the law, they got convicted. Deal with it.

    Besides, Iti will have it sweet in prison. All the bros will think he’s the man and they’ll make life easy for him. Of course, he’ll still complain about how hard it all is.

  • Kiwidon

    A loaded pistol was found under a mattress – that alone can get you a max of 10years!

  • LB

    @Kiwidon Actually the pistol was a starter pistol (the kind used to start a running race) and no one was convicted on this weapon. That was because, as conceded in court, it was not a weapon.

    • Grumpy

      No, it had been converted to a fully functioning pistol.

      • TravisPoulson

        The national party is to blame for this. If times weren’t so hard, they’d have been able to afford a proper pistol. This is worthy of a front page story in the NZ Horrid. 

      • LB

        No, it had not. This is a matter of record. The pistol was inspected by an expert in court and he testified that it was unable to be fired, was a starter pistol and was not classified as a weapon and therefore did not require a licence. Please check your facts.

        Furthermore, Kemara had a Category A Firearms Licence and all the guns were bought legally. What was argued in the trial was that some of the guns could be converted into military-style weapons requiring a Category E Firearms Licence if a magazine which had the potential to hold more than 7 rounds were attached. Larger magazines were found but not attached to these weapons and in conjunction with, although also not attached to, weapons for which larger magazines can be used and remain a Category A weapon. Sadly, our law defines ‘military-style’ by appearance and not capability.

      • Greg M

         LB, thanks for the info,

        I am not a firearms expert, despite spending 22 yrs in the NZDF.
        If that starter pistol was put in my face in the dark I would react as if it was the real thing.How to convert class A to E ? tape mags together end to end, my ruger mini 14, 22-250 has 28 rounds this way.

        I agree with your legal opinion, where the hell do I find the judges notes on the net?

    • Kiwidon

      Thanks LB. The Police com didn’t elaborate on that!

  • niggly

    Dompost: “The explanations proffered by defence counsel for the camps and the use
    of firearms  that participants were being taught bushcraft and survival
    skills or that they were being trained for employment in the security
    industry  were dismissed by the judge as “utterly implausible”.

    Also implausible was Russell Fairbrother’s likening of those attending military-style training camps running around with weapons to youngsters in the ATC (Air Training Corps) using weapons for target practice and thus doing the same thing etc.

    Well I was in the ATC many years ago and the only time we handled a loaded rifle was on a rifle range and only when it was your turn to shoot. To shoot, one assumed the prone position. Otherwise the rifles stayed with the instructors (senior ATC officers).

    When we attended bush camps, the only “weapon” we used was a torch, for night time exercises.

    We certainly didn’t run around like wannabe “Rambos” or in this case wannabe “freedom fighters” with guns. And that was in the early 80’s before the advent of “political correctness”!

    I would hope that Russell wasn’t an ATC cadet in his youth, for the way he has shat upon and used them in a twisted misleading manner to assist his fantasy efforts in defending Iti.

  • Greg M

    Nice work Niggly, as always. If you were at the Navy range at whangaparaoa in the mid 80’s I may have instructed you . Cheers G.