Iwi leader Te Awanui Black's widow claims he was a paedophile

The wife of a late Māori leader has claimed her husband was a paedophile and made a chilling plea for his victims to come forward and seek help.

Te Awanuiārangi Black was a prominent leader among iwi in Tauranga - so well-respected that a mural of him was painted there. This weekend, that image was destroyed by the artist who created it.

Mr Black was known as a staunch advocate for te reo Māori, a gifted orator, iwi leader, and regional councillor. Two years after his death from organ failure at 48, he may now be remembered as something completely different.

In a video posted to Facebook, his widow Anihera Black says he was sexually abused as a child, and as an adult abused other children.

"Awa became a paedophile and over the years honing his skills waiting for that perfect moment he had preordained to steal the innocence of others."

She says it was something she only learned after his tangi, and describes wishing she could "swallow up" the pain of her late husband's victims.

She says the planned unveiling of his headstone will no longer go ahead.

"Going down the path of preparing for his day made me feel more like an accomplice of his real life, a keeper of his secret."

Mrs Black says she'd always wondered why her husband had invited so many young people into their whare.

"I thought it was to be a good aunty and uncle. I know differently now."

Now she's pleading for his victims to come forward.

"Take back the power of the secret. It has no power in the light. Give yourself permission to be heard, be it a whisper or a blood-curdling scream."

A statement from some of Mr Black's whanau and long-time friends says they've asked the police for a full investigation.

The police say they're looking into the allegations, but won't say if anyone has come forward with information.