NZ Herald story Sunday 9th July 2006
The niece of high-profile Maori Party MP Hone Harawira has been jailed for her part in a brutal aggravated robbery,despite the MP's pleas she be sentenced to home detention. Te Atakura Huata-Harawira, 19, was sentenced to two years and one month in prison for being the getaway driver in a robbery at Hastings' Angus Inn bottle store on May 6 this year. The others involved in the robbery, siblings Paegyn Walker, 19, and Damien Walker, 18, were jailed for two years and six months. The pair entered the Angus Inn wearing balaclavas and wielding screwdrivers, and robbed the store of cash, cigarettes and party pills while Huata-Harawira waited outside.
Had Huata-Harawira's sentence been less than two years she could have applied for home detention. "Just one month over. All we wanted was to bring her home, just give her a chance of a new start. She's not a bad girl," Mr Harawira told Hawke's Bay Today outside the courtroom. "I am sad for my niece and sad for my mokopuna." Mr Harawira told Judge Tony Adeane he wanted to care for his niece, who was known in Hawke's Bay as a performer for the Kahurangi Dance Theatre, at his home in Awanui, in the Far North. He said his niece's 6-month-old daughter could attend the kohanga reo next door to the house and although he knew Huata-Harawira would not be able to leave the house he hoped to bring home local schoolchildren for kapa haka lessons.
Mr Harawira, who is the brother of Huata-Harawira's father, told the court his two daughters had grown up so closely with his brother's two children he thought of Huata-Harawira as a daughter. Wearing his Maori Party jacket, Mr Harawira said he was proud of Huata-Harawira's achievements in performing arts and had shown a photograph taken of her in New York to children at his local school to inspire them. "I told them that's what was possible if they follow what she was doing and they have picked up on that," the MP said. In court Mr Harawira told the judge: "I just want to say, Judge, if there is anything I can do. I know this is probably a little out of line but should you be willing to consider the option of home detention my wife and I have offered our place as an option for her."
"Baby would be well looked after and we have a stable home life which is away from where she is right now. "I am sorry that as an uncle I wasn't able to be here for her before she got into this. I don't know if that would have helped, but if I could have I would have." Huata-Harawira's lawyer, Tony Morgan, told the court his client had been reluctant to take part in the robbery in the morning but the lure of party pills, cigarettes and alcohol made her change her mind by the afternoon. Judge Adeane said there was no excuse for Huata-Harawira's behaviour. Unlike the other two, she had a supportive family and good schooling, which had included going to a private boarding school. "This is more to do with your strong, stubborn attitude than lack of opportunity," Judge Adeane said.
Date of Birth
Aggravated robbery of a Hastings bottle store in May 2006
At large in Hastings
Te Atakura Huata-Harawira
Sentenced 2 years 6 months in July 2006
Parole eligibility date May 2007
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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