Prison a chance to 'be creative' – Iti
Wed, 27 Feb 2013 6:09p.m.
By Michael Morrah
Tuhoe activist Tame Iti is home with his family in Ruatoki, released from prison after serving a third of the two-and-a-half-year sentence for possessing firearms.
But it hasn't put him off using guns again. Iti says they're part of Tuhoe culture.
Iti was smiling and back at his late mother's marae near Hamilton within an hour of being released. He says being in a cell gave him time to write, read and do art.
“I tell you it's really strange,” he says. “I really enjoyed my day. My whole nine months there, I think it was a time for me to be creative.
“I had to work out how am I able to navigate myself with rapists, murderers and wannabe gangsters.”
Iti says he did that by working with young inmates and got a job.
“My first job there was in the garage working as a wannabe mechanic – greasing up cars, checking out warrants of fitness.”
He says he missed his family and luxuries like coffee.
“Good colonial bad habits – cappuccino. When you're in prison you've got to wheel and deal on how to get that supply of coffee.”
Iti spent nine months in jail for possessing guns and explosives in 2007. Police say camps in the Urewera bush were for teaching violence. Iti says it was all about bush survival and he'll continue to hunt and use guns, as he has on many occasions before.
“Firearms have always been an intricate part of the culture – always have been, always will be,” he says.
Elders say Iti still has widespread support.
“The power that comes from him, nobody can match it,” says Heke I Te Rangi, Kuia Kaumatua, of Hukanui Marae. "I'm proud to know that Tame has that mana.”
Iti's partner had a surprise for him when he got home.
“I know she's looking forward to getting him back, and she's cooked him a mean feed of mutton bird tonight,” says son Wairere Iti. “She'll probably get him to mow the lawns when he gets back.”
Iti says he doesn't resent being locked up, but is still appealing his sentence and conviction.
His penalty isn't over yet. Iti will have to stay at his home in Ruatoki until his parole conditions run out in October next year. Iti says until that time, he'll remain a political prisoner.
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23/03/2013 10:56:49 a.m.
Lets see how long it takes for the guns and camouflage to come out again.What normal peace loving person sets up a camp like that ?They were not the actions of a man with no agenda.Who should be making an apology?Not the government this time.
4/03/2013 8:37:42 p.m.
Tameis reminiscent of Nelson Mandella although a bit more theatrical.
28/02/2013 2:45:33 p.m.
This guy is just a clown with a different face. Instead of white make-up and a red nose he has that ridiculous moko but underneath there is no difference. He only makes the news because he looks so stupid and that is good for the ratings.
28/02/2013 10:38:09 a.m.
Craig - possession of a firearm gets 25 to life in the US??? I doubt it.And I'm guessing that you Carlos have never met the man looking at your very ill-informed insult.
27/02/2013 9:52:49 p.m.
He should still be there.....he is scum !
27/02/2013 7:05:40 p.m.
Little bit of perspective of this man's crime. if he had of committed it in the USA he would be looking at 25 to life. If he happen to do it in the UK he would have a mandatory 5 years in prison to serve before bail would be considered. New Zealand courts are fair to lenient when it comes to gun crime.
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