Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has again been turned down in his bid to visit New Zealand, despite the backing of urban Maori authority chairman Willie Jackson.
Tyson, 46, was set to visit Australia and New Zealand next month as part of his one-man show, which details how he turned his life around after drug dependency and spells in prison.
A convicted rapist, he was initially granted a visa under a special direction, but that was reversed by Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson after charity Life Education Trust pulled a letter of support that had been written by a trust volunteer.
Tyson then filed another visa application after he received backing from Jackson, who said he would support the boxer if he visited South Auckland marae and spoke to young Maori there.
Wilkinson this morning said she had declined to grant Tyson a visa.
"The original decision in respect of Mr Tyson was a finely balanced call based on the letter of support from a board member of the Life Education Trust," she said.
"When the Trust withdrew its support I received another application from Mr Tyson's representatives with the support of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority.
"This new application was not enough to get the application over the line and as such, I have declined to grant Mr Tyson a new visa under the Immigration Act 2009.''
Despite New Zealand closing its doors to the former boxer, Australia this week granted him a visa.
Tyson, who won 50 of his 58 fights, 44 of them by knockout, was convicted of raping 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington.
He served three years of his six-year sentence, but he continues to deny the crime.
He also spent time in prison in 1999 for assaulting two motorists in Maryland and infamously bit off part of fellow boxer Evander Holyfield's ear during a 1997 bout.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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