Dapper clothes and a $130,000 BMW – man accused of defrauding Waitangi Treaty Grounds trust of $1.2 million dubbed himself 'Wallace the Tory' on social media

A 30-year-old man is facing charges in the Manukau District Court after allegedly defrauding the trust that looks after the Waitangi Treaty Grounds of $1.2 million.

Wallace Tamamotu Te Ahuru of Kerikeri faces two charges of obtaining by deception and seven charges of using forged documents.

The charges relate to when Te Ahuru worked for a subsidiary of the Waitangi National Trust between 2012 and 2016. The Serious Fraud Office says he was responsible for the trust’s financial administration.

Te Ahuru’s social media presence boasted of a life of luxury.

He called himself Wallace the Tory online and posted pictures of a $130,000 BMW, drinking champagne, playing croquet, and dining with former Prime Minister Sir John Key.

Now, questions are being asked over whether that lavish lifestyle was funded by allegedly defrauding the trust that runs the Treaty Grounds.

Waitangi National Trust chairman Pita Tipene told 1 NEWS the situation had impacted on the trust’s bottom-line. He refused to elaborate on how the fraud occurred.

“Over a million dollars taken out of any organisation’s bottom line is going to have a serious effect and all I can say is that we’ve been a victim of fraud.”

NATIONAL ICON

Political commentator Tau Henare said he was aghast.

“I’m shocked. It’s our national icon, it’s our national place regardless of the politics - that’s where it all started.”

A former trust board member told 1 NEWS that Te Ahuru was a polite, credible young man, his work was good and he was always dressed impeccably. And although the board member felt that Te Ahuru saw himself as a cut above the rest of the staff there was never anything to suggest any wrongdoing.

Auckland University’s law professor Dr Bill Hodge said he believed Te Ahuru was one of the youngest the SFO has ever prosecuted.

“I’ve never seen one of this age before the Serious Fraud Office. It’s not like that they say ‘Oh, we will never prosecute a young person,’ they just never get the opportunity to do so.”

Meanwhile, Mr Henare who is from northern iwi Ngāpuhi, said questions had to be asked of the governance.

“What sort of systems do you have in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen? Should heads roll? Most probably."

Te Ahuru did not enter a plea and is due to reappear in court on September 4.

Wallace Te Ahuru is accused of funding a lavish lifestyle by defrauding the trust by over a million dollars. Source: 1 NEWS



'Laying in a pool of blood' - One dead, another arrested following stabbing at family harm incident in Papamoa

A man is dead and another has been arrested after a family harm situation in Papamoa this morning.

A local man in his 20s has been arrested in relation to the death of a man in his 40s, who was fatally stabbed at about 8.30am this morning.

Police say that no one else has been injured and no one else is being sought in relation to the death.

Police assure there is no risk to the public.

Neighbour Todd Madden, who was walking to their car on the front lawn with his 6-year-old, told NZ Herald they saw a "young guy covered in blood" in a driveway.

"[He] yelled at me to call the police."

"Police arrived and he laid down on the ground and I grabbed the two kids."

The children told him there was a victim inside "laying in a pool of blood".

"They had been crying loudly for about 30 minutes but I just thought they were being naughty - I wished I had've gone over earlier."

Source: 1 NEWS

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New rules allow ministers' nannies to travel on the taxpayer, but PM will cover Clarke Gayford's US trip

New rules for ministers with babies who are travelling overseas allow them to to take a nanny or carer paid for by taxpayers. 

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she does not expect the taxpayer to pay for both her partner, Clarke Gayford, and a carer for their baby Neve, NZ Herald reports.

Ms Ardern and Mr Gayford, along with their baby, are travelling to New York today for Leaders' Week for the UN General Assembly.

The prime minister says that she will be paying for her partner's flights, since there are not many engagements for partners.

"There is no spousal programme for this, so we just made a judgment call that we would cover his travel for this trip. He will be going to some things, but he's primarily travelling to care for Neve."

After Ms Ardern became prime minister, the guidelines for ministers' overseas travel were reviewed and changed, reports the Herald.

Now, a minister with young infants is allowed to take someone, other than a partner, to care for that child or for a minister with a disability to take a support person if needed.

Ms Ardern said she never sought for the change and did not intend to use the entitlement for herself, and would only allow it for ministers in "exceptional circumstances."

The prime minister signs off on all ministerial travel overseas, other than to Australia, including deciding whether partners can travel with ministers and who pays for them.

Other ministers with young babies currently include the Green Party's Julie Anne Genter and Education Minister Chris Hipkins, whose partner had a second child this week.

Ms Ardern told the Herald she did not expect to have travel with more than one person, but if there was a situation which required both Mr Gayford and another carer for Neve, she would pay for that extra person out of her own pocket.

"We are playing it by ear. There is no set plan, it's just whether or not she's getting enough sleep, where I am for feeds. They might be with us a lot, they might just be in the hotel,” she said.

In New York, Ms Ardern is also staying in apartment-type accommodation rather than the usual hotel because kitchen facilities were needed for Neve.

Ms Ardern said she had made sure it did not cost more than was usual.

Jacinda Ardern, Clarke Gayford and baby Neve. Source: 1 NEWS

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Sunday preview: What is the future for whitebait?

Saturday morning at the market. I bite the bullet, line up and buy one. It's a delicious, piping-hot, wee taste of home, but boy do I feel guilty. Not guilty enough to stop at one, though. I go back for a second. Then a third.

I've read the headlines. Read the entire stories. Whitebait are being wiped out because of people like me. They could soon be gone forever - and it's my fault. Or is it?

According to a Department of Conservation report released last year, three of the five whitebait species are "at risk/declining" and one species is "threatened".

Everyone agrees humans are having a huge impact on whitebait habitat, but people don't agree on how much of an impact fishing has on these species.

To help protect these native fish Forest and Bird are calling for recreational catch limits and a complete commercial ban on whitebaiting.

"Here is a species that are in trouble and there's no limit at all to the amount that you can catch" says Forest and Bird's Kevin Hague.

But Dr Mike Hickford, a marine ecologist at the University of Canterbury says fears of wiping out whitebait are grossly overblown. "I don't think we will ever wipe out whitebait" he says.

Hickford says a distinction needs to be made between adult and the post-larvae fish. "There's no doubt that the adult stage of these fish are in trouble, but it doesn't translate to the whitebait".

Hickford says there's no evidence to suggest at this stage that whitebaiting affects the threatened adult population, which spawn in such huge numbers.

"The majority of those whitebaits that are coming back in to the river, they're going to die anyway, they always have died and they still will die in the future no matter what we do".

Despite a lack of clear evidence, Kevin Hague says restrictions on how we catch whitebait, how much we can catch and the sale of whitebait should be introduced before the start of next 3-month long season (Sept-Nov).

"We don't want to interfere with someone's ability to go and get a feed for their family, but we just think there should be some tools that we use to actually reduce the pressure on these species".

Cascade Whitebait, one of New Zealand's biggest commercial whitebaiters, fish each season on the isolated Cascade river, just south of Haast.

Nan Brown, whose parents helped set up the operation 70 years ago, says their records don't show any decline in whitebait catch.   She wants to hold on to their fishery and says, "It would be unfair to let the guillotine drop on something you don't know enough about.” 

Watch the full story tomorrow night AT 7.30pm on SUNDAY TVNZ1 or TVNZOnDemand

Whitebait are being wiped out but people can’t agree on how much of an impact fishing has on these species Source: Sunday


Man in serious condition following assault near Christchurch mall

A 41-year-old man is in a serious but stable condition in a Christchurch hospital, following an attack in the early hours this morning.

Police have cordoned off an area beside the Hornby Mall, on Shands Road, for a scene examination.

It is expected to be cleared by midday today.

Police are continuing to investigate the scene to establish what occurred.

File image of an Ambulance outside a hospital. Source: 1 NEWS