A former school leader who worked with a teacher who sexually abused pupils says his interest in Maoritanga won over parents and got him closer to his victims.
Northland teacher James Robertson Parker pleaded guilty in the Kaitaia District Court on Wednesday to 49 charges of indecent assault and unlawful sexual connection involving a dozen boys aged 11 to 13.
The 37-year-old was deputy principal position at Pamapuria School in Kaitaia for six years until his arrest last month.
A former principal, who asked not to be named, says the children who suffered were mostly Maori tamariki.
Pupils stayed over at Parker's house in a marae-style shared sleeping arrangement.
And he convinced people he was Maori, even though he was Pakeha and his parents were English.
The ex-education leader says Parker behaved like the Pied Piper.
He started a kapa haka group, which impressed parents and launched him deeper into the community.