Urewera raids: The lawyer who saved the innocent

Watch the video for The Hui's full interview with Annette Sykes.

It's 10 years since Operation 8 saw 300 police raid homes around the country, from Christchurch to Tauranga

But it was the tiny Bay of Plenty settlement of Rūātoki that bore the brunt of the raids, sealed off by police who detained children and the elderly for hours.

In total 17 people were arrested, and the first phone call many of them made on that morning was to lawyer Annette Sykes.

Ms Sykes represented them on the grounds that so many of them were unlawfully detained, searched and photographed by police, and she was ultimately successful in getting the charges dropped.

In 2013 the Independent Police Conduct Authority found police searches, vehicle stops, roadblocks and photographs taken in Tūhoe country were "unlawful, unjustified and unreasonable".

Ms Sykes told Three's The Hui some of those caught up in the raids are still paying off their legal aid bill, despite being cleared of wrongdoing

"My heart goes out to Rawiri Iti that he is one of those eventually not proceeded with, not dealt with the criminal justice system, so found not guilty and he's still paying off his legal aid bill… They need to look at those kind of cases and do something about it - not talk about it, do something about it."

Watch the video for The Hui's full interview with Annette Sykes.

The Hui