Arrest made over online death threat video that prompted Te Pāti Māori complaints

Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.
Te Pāti Māori co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. Photo credit: RNZ

A 44-year-old man has been arrested after Te Pāti Māori complained about an online video threatening to kill Māori and target marae.

The arrest comes after an investigation into "multiple complaints" over the video, police say.

"The man was arrested in Tauranga this afternoon and charged with making an objectionable publication," a spokesperson said on Thursday.

The man is scheduled to appear in Tauranga District Court on Thursday, June 10.

The arrest comes just a day after Te Pāti Māori lodged an official complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA), accusing police of double-standards when dealing with death threats made against Pākehā and Māori.

The party was unhappy with how police had dealt with the video, which was posted by an alleged white supremacist and included threats to kill Māori and target marae, RNZ reports.

Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said she had been left "more than disappointed" by the police response to the party's complaint.

"Communication and response time was inadequate, the police have continued to minimise the nature of the threat against us and our people," she said.

University of Auckland Māori studies Professor Margaret Mutu told Newshub white supremacy is "very, very normalised" in New Zealand, with Māori forced to endure it "on a day-to-day basis".

"Often when Māori say that white supremacy or racism is affecting them, we're not believed," she tells Newshub.

"These days, there is a heightened sense of sensitivity in the Pākehā world to the fact that racism exists, and I think this situation may have arisen because of the Black Lives Matter campaign in the United States."

In terms of the attack the Māori Party has laid a complaint over, Mutu has seen similar onslaughts before - but says the media and police don't pick them up.

"Māori are basically told 'it's just the way it is, ignore it, it's nothing'. Well, it is something, and I'm pleased now that the media is taking it seriously."