Wannabe 'Maori' deported

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2012

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A middle-aged American who yearns to be Maori has lost his appeal to stay in New Zealand and will be kicked out of the country after being caught with a small quantity of cannabis.

Michael McCarty argued there were humanitarian reasons why he should not be deported but the Immigration and Protection Tribunal was unswayed by his claims that his adopted Maori family needed him, and his proclaimed affinity with all things Kiwi.

McCarty entered New Zealand on August 16 last year on a visitor's visa that entitled him to stay until November 16, but on September 13 he was convicted of possessing cannabis and, two days later, issued with a deportation notice by Immigration New Zealand.

He opted to fight the deportation and appealed through the tribunal to stay in New Zealand on the grounds he was the first international student to try to take te reo Maori at an institute in Rotorua and that his adopted Maori family needed his financial help. He claimed without it, they would become destitute and homeless.

He also pointed out that as a radio presenter in California in the 1980s and 1990s he had promoted New Zealand music and long held a special affinity with the country.

He said that coming from California, which had lax laws in respect to the possession of small amounts of cannabis, he was not truly aware of the severity of New Zealand's drug laws and had paid his $300 fine in full.

But the tribunal dismissed most of McCarty's claims as inflated and grandiose and said that him having an affinity with New Zealand was not reason enough to overturn his deportation.

They noted McCarty had served jail sentences in the United States in 1998 and 2003 for threatening behaviour and breaking a restraining order and that he had also been convicted in 1991 of making harassing phone calls and sentenced to community work.

The tribunal said there was no evidence to support the claims his presence in New Zealand was needed to prevent his adopted family becoming destitute and that he could support them financially from the US if he wanted to.

"Neither the appellant's services to New Zealand music nor his devotion to this country are exceptional humanitarian circumstances."

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- Sunday Star Times

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