Wallace TE AHURU - 30/01/2020
Under section 21(2) of the Parole Act 2002
Wallace Tamamotu TE AHURU
Hearing: 30 January 2020
at Northland Region Corrections Facility via AVL to New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board:
- Mr N Trendle (Panel Convenor)
- Ms S Driver
- Mr C Roberts
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Wallace Tamamotu Te Ahuru is making a further appearance before the Board on his sentence of three years eight months’ imprisonment for obtaining by deception and using fraudulent documents. His statutory release date is 3 May 2022.
- Mr Te Ahuru’s offending occurred in the context of his responsibilities as the corporate services manager for the Waitangi National Trust. His offending led to a loss in the vicinity of $1.2 million.
- When Mr Te Ahuru last appeared before the Board in November 2019 we requested a further assessment as to the availability of prison-based rehabilitation given the nature and scale of Mr Te Ahuru’s offending and the high degree of premeditation that accompanied it over a 15 month period. That issue has been further reviewed by the prison and the principal psychologist reassessed the case, determining that Mr Te Ahuru was not eligible to participate in either the Medium Intensity Rehabilitation Programme or the Short Rehabilitation Programme. We note that earlier Mr Te Ahuru successfully completed the Short Motivational Programme.
- From our discussion with him today, it is evident that Mr Te Ahuru has developed an acceptable level of insight into his offending. He is clear that his actions were totally unjustified – he used the word “egregious” – and he knew they were wrong. He said that at the time he had a sense of entitlement and was somewhat disenchanted with the recognition he was receiving for the level of work he was undertaking. He became overwhelmed. More importantly, he did not confront other issues that were going on in his life. His values shifted as a result of these matters. He told us that relinquishing his role and travelling to Australia was his way of discontinuing his offending. Mr Te Ahuru told us that he remained deeply ashamed of his actions and he hoped that by returning to New Zealand to deal with the charges and by his prompt plea of guilty that he had demonstrated his contrition and remorse. He has since had the opportunity to reassess his life and we spoke about the steps he had taken and proposed for the future.
- Upon release, Mr Te Ahuru is proposing to live with [withheld]. She is well aware of his offending and whilst not condoning it, provides a strong sense of support. There are other avenues of support available to Mr Te Ahuru.
- The Board is unable to direct Mr Te Ahuru’s release from prison unless we are satisfied that his release would not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community or to any person or class of persons within the term of his sentence. Equally, once we are satisfied as to the statutory threshold, we are obliged to direct his release. In Mr Te Ahuru’s case, having regard to the support available to him in the community, to his safety plan which we have reviewed, and to the personal progress he has made since he came to prison, the Board is satisfied that on the basis of his compliance with release conditions he would not pose an undue risk to the safety of others. Accordingly, we direct his release on parole on 12 February 2020.
- Thereafter, for a period of 18 months he will be subject to standard conditions and the special conditions set out below. We are of the view that special conditions are required for that period principally focused on constraints around the work that he can undertake.
- Mr Te Ahuru’s special conditions are as follows:
(1) Not to be involved in the handling of money, provision of advice or management of the financial accounts or transactions, of any person or entity, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(2) To reside at [withheld] or any other address approved in writing by a Probation Officer, and not move from that address unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
(3) Not to engage in any employment or have any role in the affairs of any business, trust, company or other entity, unless you have the prior written approval of a Probation Officer.
Mr N Trendle