Election 2023: Man accused by Te Pāti Māori of unlawfully entering candidate's home says he's innocent, wanted to wish her well

A National Party supporter has been trespassed for entering the home of a Te Pāti Māori candidate says he's been unfairly accused.

It's claimed Graham Gunn entered Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke's home on Wednesday morning without permission and was asked to leave, before police were called.

But the 74-year-old said he was invited inside and was there to wish her good luck.

Gunn, or Gunny to his mates, was playing a bowls tournament on Thursday.

He's baffled he's been accused of being a home invader.

"Gutted that someone hasn't done their homework," Gunny said.

Te Pati Māori president John Tamihere went on AM on Thursday claiming an elderly pakeha man had entered the home of 21-year-old candidate Hana Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke.

"He walks straight up to the door, enters, he then says, because he got sprung by an occupant, because one of the whanau was there to look after the property. And that person said to him what the f are you doing? Get the f out," said Tamihere.

Tamihere claimed that whanau member followed the man back to Gunny's property, which had a number of National Party signs.

Gunny was watching that AM interview at the time and it caught his attention.

"I thought 'I think they're talking about me', because I've actually got a party sign on my section that's been damaged as well. But no way would I ever do anything to Hana. I don't care who I vote for, I still wish her the best of luck."

Gunny's side of the story is that he was impressed by Maipi-Clark at a local candidate meeting.

"I thought she presented herself well, and wanted to wish her all the best, being such a young person, and getting into politics, especially a Māori girl."

So, he went around to her house to tell her.

"I went in and just knocked on the door, and that was the right house, that's where she lived. So I met her husband and had a talk to him. Hana was in bed. He went to get her and she was asleep, so I just went home."

But Brad Totorewa, Maipi-Clarke's campaign manager, said he doesn't "take that story".

"I would question the integrity of that statement."

Gunny and his wife are both long-time National supporters and he says there was no malicious intent when he went to see her.

"I'd love her to get into Parliament. Those are the sort of people you want. Young people with good ideas," he said.

Maipi-Clarke declined an interview but her campaign manager is doubting Gunn's defence.

"Basically, it was an uninvited entry into Hana's house," said Totorewa.

Police couldn't contact Gunny before our interview on Thursday because he was playing bowls, but he was dismayed to hear police will issue him a trespass notice.

"I reckon its stupid. The police should come round and see me and find out a bit about me," Gunny said.

He also had something to say to Tamihere: "Tell him to get his facts right before he spouts his mouth off."

Tamihere was sticking to the party's story on Thursday night and called the police response a "whitewash".

Police on Thursday afternoon confirmed it would issue a Huntly resident with a trespass notice , "following a report received at around 10.20am yesterday, Wednesday 5 October".

"At that time a person entered the property and was subsequently asked to leave by the occupants."