Tame Iti has been released from prison and is making his way home to Ruatoki today after serving a third of the two-and-a-half year jail term he was given over the alleged military-style camps near his home town in 2011.
Iti was granted parole from Waikeria Prison in Waikato on February 14 after being described as a "role model prisoner" by the Parole Board.
He is expected to visit a marae connected with his mother's family in Waikato on his way back to his home town in the Urewera ranges.
Soon after 7am today he tweeted a picture of himself enjoying his first cup of coffee after leaving prison.
"An early rise this morning to meet with my whanau in kihikihi. It feels good to be out... Now where is my cappuccino," he wrote.
The Parole Board decided to release Iti after he was assessed as being at low risk of reoffending.
"His family have all noticed a maturing of Mr Iti and that he has got on with the sentence as best as he could and has been as helpful as he could be to other inmates," the board's report says.
"He has shown leadership qualities ... and he is described as a role model prisoner."
Iti was jailed on firearms charges following the camps, where he and others were filmed by hidden cameras training with firearms and molotov cocktails.
A jury could not agree on whether he and fellow accused Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey were guilty of participation in an organised criminal group.
Iti continues to maintain his innocence and his appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court.
Kemara, who will also head to the Supreme Court, will be released on parole in March. He was also seen to be at low risk of reoffending and the board found that his behaviour, attitude and work ethic in prison had been exemplary.
Signer and Bailey were given home detention sentences.
source: newshub archive