Police fail to uncover Bay of Plenty 'pedophile ring'

  • 30/08/2018

Police say they've failed to uncover any evidence of a "pedophile ring" operating in the Bay of Plenty.

Their investigation was sparked after Anihera Black, widow of prominent community leader Te Awanui Black, said he was involved in a ring of abuse that was of the highest levels.

In a video posted to Facebook, Ms Black said he was sexually abused as a child and as an adult, abused other children.

Police have been investigating the allegations since July, Detective Inspector Mark Loper said in a statement on Thursday.

"To date, we have not received any information or evidence to substantiate the allegation that a 'pedophile ring' is or has been operating in Tauranga," he said.

"We understand that these allegations have caused considerable distress, not just for Mrs Black and her whanau, but for the wider Tauranga community."

A young man alleging he was sexually abused as a teenager by former iwi leader told the Bay of Plenty Times he was regularly sexually abused by Mr Black during visits to his house.

"Talking about it today is extremely hard," the victim, who asked to remain anonymous, told the newspaper.

"But I was repeatedly used and lured into doing things with Awa that were horrible, yuck and male me feel sick even talking about it today."

The victim said he didn't come forward sooner because Mr Black allegedly threatened violence if he told anyone about their encounters.

"I have never shared this with anyone else because I was so scared, embarrassed and ashamed and also did not think anyone would believe me because I was only a kid," he told the newspaper.

Police said they have been contacted by one person since the allegations were made, but will not discuss matters relating to this individual.

"We want to assure the community that police have taken these allegations seriously and have investigated accordingly," Det Insp Loper said.

"Based on the information currently available, police are unable to progress this matter any further at this time.

"We continue to welcome contact from anyone who wishes to share information with us about the allegations but has not yet been in touch with us."

Information can be provided by contacting their local police station or contacting the Adult Sexual Assault team at ASA@police.govt.nz.