Former trustee of Far North Māori fund Stephen Henare denied Supreme Courtroom attraction over ‘cultural disgrace’

A former trustee of Far North Māori fund who was jailed for a $1 million fraud he perpetrated along with his sister has been denied a Supreme Courtroom attraction over “cultural disgrace”.


Stephen Henare and Margaret Dixon just about bled the Parengarenga 3G (P3G) Belief dry to pay for playing and luxuries, reminiscent of a company field at rugby league video games.

Each have been prosecuted by the Critical Fraud Workplace (SFO) and on day 4 of Henare’s Excessive Courtroom trial final Could, he pleaded responsible to 5 fees of theft by an individual in a particular relationship and one depend of perverting the course of justice.

The 62-year-old was later sentenced to five years and two months’ imprisonment by Justice Matthew Muir, a time period he unsuccessful challenged within the Courtroom of Enchantment this yr.


Regardless of dismissing Henare’s efforts, the Courtroom of Enchantment stated in an acceptable future case the courts might be able to “discover the potential of treating whakamā as a novel mitigating issue when sentencing a Māori defendant.”

So, Henare took the case to New Zealand’s highest courtroom with an software for a second problem to his sentence. His sole supposed floor of attraction was the impact of whakamā, a type of cultural disgrace for Māori, ought to have been recognised as a private mitigating consider his sentencing.

A cultural report for Henare’s sentencing did learn he “has expressed a disconnection along with his wider whanau”.


As a part of the report, his daughter additionally stated in a press release her father’s crimes had seen him grow to be an outcast.

“Our mana has been stripped, our tikanga worth is gone … We as a whanau, we’re damaged,” she stated.

Henare additionally argued his sentence “has impacted on all of the bloodline connections previous current and future and to the land itself”.


In its judgment launched in the present day, the Supreme Courtroom stated it accepted the relevance and potential impact of whakamā in sentencing is a matter of common or public significance.

Nevertheless, it was not glad the problem arises from Henare’s case.

When sentencing Henare, Justice Matthew Muir did confer with the “humiliation” felt by present and former trustees and the broader neighborhood of homeowners on account of Henare’s offending.


The Supreme Courtroom bench of Justice Joe Williams, Justice Ellen France and Justice Mark O’Regan stated whakamā was “clearly in [Justice Muir’s] contemplation”.

“However the logic within the suggestion that Mr Henare ought to obtain a reduction due to the whakamā his offending brought on to others will not be instantly apparent,” the choice reads.

“Much more to the purpose nonetheless is that there’s little proof that Mr Henare himself is bothered with whakamā,” the courtroom stated, dismissing the applying.

Margaret Dixon was sentenced to home detention for her part in the fraud. Photo / Sam Hurley
Margaret Dixon was sentenced to house detention for her half within the fraud. Photograph / Sam Hurley

A Division of Corrections’ report additionally recorded that regardless of his responsible plea, Henare maintained he has fulfilled his obligations in his position and didn’t steal the funds from the PG3 Belief.

Justice Muir discovered Henare harboured a way of entitlement to the funds for property he claimed had been “illegally taken from his grandmother and others”.

Henare’s crimes started after he was appointed a trustee of P3G along with his sister and 5 different individuals in June 2012.


The belief, which helped underprivileged individuals, managed greater than 500ha forest block on Māori land in Tai Tokerau District.

Henare and Dixon took management of P3G with about $1.08m in money belongings in August 2012, however by January 2014 there was solely $13.41 left within the accounts.

Because of the depleted funds, there was a devastating monetary, social and emotional affect on the 400 present and future useful homeowners of P3G, which may now not afford to keep up its forests.


The issues plaguing P3G had been taken to the Māori Land Courtroom in January 2013 after an software was made by one of many trustees to take away Henare from his place.

However on the courtroom listening to Henare perverted the course of justice by mendacity when requested concerning the well being of the belief’s account, claiming there was just below $1m within the accounts.

Nonetheless a trustee, he walked away and went on to steal the remaining $400,000.


Dixon, who was on account of give proof for the SFO throughout her brother’s trial, was convicted and sentenced to home detention for her half within the fraud.

The courtroom heard at her sentencing that her private achieve was $130,836.

The siblings have been eliminated as trustees of P3G.

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