1 Oct 2015

Young Kiwis 'in tune' with Chris Brown

6:51 pm on 1 October 2015

Several high-profile Maori women have today called for the American singer Chris Brown to be allowed into the country to perform.

Chris Brown

Chris Brown Photo: AFP

Brown was convicted of domestic-violence assault in 2009 and is automatically blocked from entering New Zealand.

Dames Tariana Turia, June Jackson and June Mariu fronted a news conference this afternoon, along with Lady Tureiti Moxon and the former chief executive of Women's Refuge, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait.

They acknowledged what they called New Zealand's long shameful history of domestic violence but Ms Raukawa-Tait said Brown, who has a conviction for assaulting pop star Rihanna, had changed his behaviour and now had his daughter back by his side.

Dame Tariana maintained that young people would listen to Brown.

"I've had young people say to me 'you know whaea, I really love you, but would I really listen to you? Have you had the experiences in life that I'm having?'.

"And I know I haven't - so they want to hear from people who they think have been down their pathway," she said.

Dame Tariana added that "good, bad, ugly or otherwise" young people were more likely to be "in tune" with Brown.

She said her grandchildren believed Brown could have a positive influence.

Ms Raukawa-Tait said there needed to be a range of people speaking out against domestic violence.

"Chris Brown is a young black man from the United States who is hoping to perform rap and hip-hop in this country - you'll all know he has a big following of young people.

"He has said himself that he has changed his behaviour and would be happy to talk about the impact that assault charge has had on him," she said.

She said the group of women believed "having done the crime, and done the time", Brown should be allowed to enter New Zealand.

Anti-violence campaigner and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis said he was stunned the women were taking such a position.

Mr Davis asked where these women were last week when 1000 people marched against domestic violence for Tara Brown, a Maori mother allegedly bashed to death last month in Brisbane by her Maori former partner.

Mr Davis said Brown's visit was profit driven and there was no talk of him donating any profits to organisations like Women's Refuge.

He said Brown would simply turn up for two minutes and denounce violence, before jumping on the stage and making millions.

Brown, 26, has been banned from the United Kingdom and Canada.

It is believed he will be applying for a visa in the near future.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has previously said that Brown could enter the country through a special direction under the Immigration Act.

Earlier in the week Tukoroirangi Morgan indicated that Tainui would like to host the singer, but that was shut down when a spokesperson for the King's office told Radio New Zealand he did not support the invitation, or any form of violence.