Rotorua local, Hamiora Werahiko was found guilty yesterday of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old child.
Hamiora Werahiko, aged 37, from Rotorua was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court on Friday 4 May to 6 months home detention following a lengthy judicial deliberation process. The judge took time to chastise Werahiko, detailing the sexual assault, the impact on the victim and the significant breach of trust involved.
The judge however, made the decision “on the slimmest of margins” to sentence Werahiko to home detention rather than incarceration. Because of Werahiko’s past work with children the judge took the additional step of placing him on the Child Sex Offender register.
The judge began with term of 1 year 6 months to be served but reduced Werehiko’s sentence because it was his first offence, and because he pled guilty upon being confronted with his crimes.
Family members shellshocked
Family members (who wished to remain anonymous to protect the identity of the young victim) were in court to hear the sentence and were “shellshocked” at the ‘lightness’ of the sentence.
“We know there are others, we are just hoping they come forward, so this man can be held accountable for all his crimes and so not one more child can be destroyed by his actions. It’s heartbreaking.”
Our child has been scarred forever and all this paedophile got was a slap on the wrist” said one
“We know we have to move on, but this assault has hit our whanau so hard. This child has struggled, is struggling and we are doing everything we can to provide support, but the whakama is so painful.”
According to his online resume, Werahiko was formerly a consultant and has worked for Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Te Arawa River Iwi Trust, and has worked extensively in Australia, including as a Disabilities Support Worker working with disabled young people at Houses with No Steps in Malabar, Sydney beginning in 2009.
This incident coincides with recent calls to bring sexual predators out into the light from within whanau, marae, hapu and iwi. A recent article on Marae sparked national debate when artist and activist Chanz Mikaere noted that she was shocked to see pedophiles on her paepae.