Emotional evidence given in Sir Bob Jones' defamation case

Filmmaker Renae Maihi has given emotional evidence in court responding to a defamation lawsuit filed against her by Sir Bob Jones.

Sir Bob sued Maihi after she labelled a newspaper column he wrote in 2018 as racist and then petitioned for his knighthood to be revoked. 

On Thursday the filmmaker described her reaction to his 2018 column calling for Waitangi Day to be replaced with a Māori Gratitude Day.

"Regardless of whether the suggestion was made seriously, I found the image of servitude and slavery the column invoked to be offensive and racist," Maihi told the court.

Sir Bob claims by calling for his knighthood to be revoked she defamed him. Maihi disagrees.

"He seemed to think he should be able to say and do as he wished and that people should suck it up as an exercise of free speech," she said.

"Yet when someone in my position stood up to respond to defend the mana of my people I was threatened with legal proceedings in order to silence me." 

The court earlier heard from renowned Māori author Alan Duff who rubbished suggestions Sir Bob, his friend of thirty years, was racist. 

"If you were racist you don't want a half-caste Māori guy such as me one of your close friends," Duff told the court.

He said the businessman had actively encouraged him to write a book about Māori high achievers

Jones' lawyers are expected to begin their cross-examination of Maihi tomorrow.