Maori King: My son didn't get special treatment
The Maori King Tuheitia took aim at sensationalist news and his son's trial by social media in his annual state of the Maori nation speech as Koroneihana celebrations came to a close.
The king spoke publicly about the treatment his second eldest son, Korotangi Paki, received after he was discharged without conviction on charges including burglary and drink driving in the Auckland District Court in July.
Speaking in te reo Maori in front of more than 2000 people, including 26 international diplomats who crammed into Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, Tuheitia said the media circus that followed Judge Philippa Cunningham's ruling dogged his family.
In a written translation provided to media, Tuheitia said reports were ''sensational and factually wrong''.
''Most think that I used a false excuse to get him off or that because he was my son, he was treated differently. This is not true.''
Last September, Tuheitia underwent surgery and he said his fight with diabetes and cancer was under control but in May, the normally media-shy king spoke exclusively with Fairfax Media and said his son would have to face the consequences of his actions.
He reiterated the point today but while defence counsel Paul Wicks QC argued successfully that a conviction would bar Paki from succeeding his father, Tuheitia said it was only a possibility and the media got it wrong.
''They did not take into account the context but instead turned my words to incite the anger of some in our communities.''
The king's spokesman Tukoroirangi Morgan said there was a concern evidence was contorted to produce a particular slant and was a major concern to the king.
''This is a declaration to the press to put all of the information out there. Don't just take snippets.''
He said the outrage on social media and personal abuse where a direct attack on the Kingitanga movement.
''I was reminded by the prayer given this afternoon, 'let he who has not sinned cast the first stone' and the message is that all of us make mistakes.''
''There are thousands of Pakeha students and students from other races who get off every week,'' he said. ''Those who attend premier universities around the country, those who are sons and daughter of doctors and lawyers who are discharged without conviction and yet when it comes to the son of the king, there is a polarisation. It is unjust.''
Facebook pages emerged that called for Paki to be convicted and days later, a two-year old video emerged of a Paki in a foul-mouthed rant.
The Crown Law Office appealed Judge Cunningham's ruling but Paki was not expected to appear at the August 29 hearing.
His co-accused in the March burglary and theft incidents, Te Ahorangi Totorewa, Hamuera Wipoha Pugh and Raa Ngaru Smith were all discharged without conviction in Gisborne District Court.
The four men took part in a voluntary community services programme to make reparations to the victims and restore the faith and trust of their families.