Dame Tariana supporting Chris Brown

  • 29/09/2015
Dame Tariana Turia
Dame Tariana Turia

US rapper Chris Brown will have the backing of Dame Tariana Turia when he gets around to applying for a New Zealand visa.

The former Maori Party leader says Brown should be allowed into the country, despite his 2009 conviction for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna.

"I think Chris Brown has a lot to offer many of our young people and others who have been in the situation he's been in," Dame Tariana told Radio New Zealand.

"He's been accused of violence towards his partner and we know that is an often-occurring issue within our own families."

Dame Tariana said she is sure the message Brown will bring will be one that resonates with his fans.

"I am sure that he has learned from the mistakes he has made," she said.

Dame Tariana says she spent much of her time as an MP working to stop family violence.

Despite her efforts, she said nothing has changed.

"Our people listen to people like Chris Brown, they don't listen to me."

Tickets for Brown's December 18 show at Auckland's Vector Arena went on sale.

A question mark remains over whether Brown will be allowed into the country and if he's not, fans have been promised a full refund.

Under New Zealand's immigration laws anyone who has been barred from another country or has previous convictions is ineligible for a visa unless granted a special exemption.

Rapper Tyler the Creator's group Odd Future were in 2014 barred from New Zealand because the immigration department said they posed a "potential threat to public order".

Boxer Mike Tyson also had to cancel a speaking tour in 2012 after Immigration NZ cancelled a visa it had already issued him because of a previous conviction.