National | Court

Manager admits $1.2mil Waitangi fraud

A former employee of the Waitangi National Trust has pleaded guilty to charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

30-year-old Wallace Tamamotu Te Ahuru of Kerikeri pleaded guilty to two charges of ‘Obtaining by deception’ and seven charges of ‘Using forged documents’ at the Manukau District Court.

Te Ahuru misappropriated about $1.2mil while employed as a corporate services manager, a role which saw him responsible for the financial administration of the trust.

He is believed to have acted alone in the offending.

Serious Fraud Office Director, Julie Read says, “Mr Te Ahuru deceived the custodian of one of the most historically significant places in New Zealand.  His offending has caused reputational damage to the Waitangi National Trust which is the recipient of government grants and private donations.”

The defendant used the ill-gotten funds for travel and accommodation, luxury clothing, cosmetic surgery and the purchase of a vehicle.

Te Ahuru has been remanded in custody and will appear in the Manukau District Court for sentencing on 30 November.