Wife of late iwi leader says one of his victims was as young as seven

The wife of a late iwi leader has restated allegations that her husband was a paedophile in her first television interview given to TVNZ's Marae programme.

In the interview, Anihera Zhou Black claims her former husband's youngest victim may have only been seven at the time of the alleged abuse.

"It's the reason why he killed himself in the end - because it's so enormous. He died of organ failure, he died of alcohol poisoning, yeah, suicide by alcohol poisoning," Ms Black said.

Ms Black rocked Māoridom when she alleged on social media that her late husband, Awanui Black, was a paedophile.

Today, she told Marae three people disclosed to her they were victims before the explosive post.

"People have come and told their stories. They're not allegations, it's their truth. The one in particular that broke the camel's back is definitely under [16].

"One had disclosed that he was suicidal at the age of seven and tried to hang himself."

Ms Black also claims the iwi leader ran a paedophile ring.

"I'm saying that not only was Awa part of a ring, he was part of the management of a ring" which she discovered from "disclosures from a number of sources that because of his status find it very difficult to be believed".

Leonie Pihama, who studies sexual violence, is one of a number of prominent Māori who have backed Ani online despite the lack of public proof.

"Well, I think the first line is that we believe victims. That is the first line - that we believe victims and that we believe disclosures," Ms Pihama said.

"It's very clear that there are very few false accusations in this country, so I think we should not assume that people are not telling the truth."

However, friends and whānau are aghast at the situation, including Willie Te Aho, a friend of the late Awanui Black.

"I'm disappointed with the way the law is at the moment, that allows people to make outrageous statements untested after a person has died, where they do not have the opportunity to respond and to go through the rigors of a trial to prove their innocence and that's exactly what's happened in this situation," Mr Te Aho said.

"Paedophillia is one of the most ghastly accusations that can be labelled at a person and to have that labelled after he's dead, where he doesn't have the opportunity to respond, is something that I totally object to."

Dr Siale Foliaki, a psychiatrist, says Ms Black's post is likely to drive similar behaviour online.

"I absolutely think it's the future. and I think there's a generation growing up in New Zealand that is very comfortable online and very comfortable with posting not only photos, but how they're feeling inside [that] they're having conversations about," Dr Foliaki said.

"The positives are that often, some of the things people are feeling and carrying, difficult things, heavy things, expressing that can be good for our psychological selves but at the same time we know that it can cause harm."

Anihera Black repeated allegations that her late husband Te Awanuiārangi was a paedophile. Source: 1 NEWS

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