Iwi 'vindicated' after Northland farmer jailed

Updated at 8:56 pm on 20 November 2013

Te Roroa iwi in Te Tai Tokerau are feeling a sense of vindication that a Northland farmer who strongly campaigned against their Waitangi Tribunal claims has been jailed for a raft of serious crimes.

Allan Titford was recently convicted by a jury and his name had been suppressed until Wednesday.

At the Whangarei District Court on Wednesday, he was sentenced to 24 years in jail for a number of serious charges, including raping his former wife and violently abusing his family, arson and fraud.

Titford was involved in a 20-year dispute with the Waitangi Tribunal and the Government over ownership of his farm in Northland in the 1990s.

He was also found guilty of burning down his own house at Maunganui Bluff - an arson he blamed at the time on local Maori.

Te Roroa acting senior iwi manager Moengaroa Murray said on Wednesday that, even though their case was against the Crown, Titford was determined to trample on the mana of her whanau, hapu and iwi.

She says he blamed many incidents on local Maori and they were unable to prove their innocence at the time - which caused divisions between Maori and Pakeha who believed him.

Mrs Murray says iwi members knew they never did any of the things that Titford accused them of.

She says although it's taken many, many years, she is glad that Te Roroa finally has a sense of closure and they are vindicated for all of the crimes they were accused of committing now that the truth is out.

Mrs Murray is calling for Titford to make a public apology - although she doubts he will ever make one.

Artist Manos Nathan, of Te Roroa, carved the pouwhenua (land post) which he and other land occupiers used at Titford's farm at Maunganui Bluff, north of Dargaville.

Mr Nathan said many people in the local community did not realise what sort of man Titford was, but the iwi did.

"We as tangata whenua (people of the land) got his measure rather early on in the piece. I saw his behaviour at meetings as not those of a gentleman, or someone that you could trust or really talk to."

Titford's lawyer John Moroney said on Wednesday that his client denies the charges and is very upset.

Listen to Checkpoint interview with Manos Nathan

- (c) Radio New Zealand News