Topic: Native Affairs

Professor refuses to back down from legal threats

By Iulia Leilua

University professor Dr Leonie Pihama refuses to back down after receiving a letter from Sir Bob Jones’ lawyers seeking an apology after comments she made in a personal tweet.

“I won’t be retracting or apologising,” she told Māori Television’s Native Affairs,  “The tweet that I put out was in support of the petition that Renae Maihi had put out a while ago in terms of Bob Jones’ behavior then and the fact that she was now formally being sued for defamation by him.”

Sir Bob Jones made headlines for comments about Māori in the National Business Review.  It prompted a petition, led by film maker Renae Maihi, to strip him of his knighthood and was signed by nearly 73,000 people.

Pihama’s tweet has since been circulated on social media. She was served with a letter by Jones' lawyer last Friday.

“When the legal system can be used in a way that is about people who have wealth being able to drag other people through courts for long periods of time, we have a major, a big issue,” she says.

Native Affairs reached out to Jones for comment but he did not respond.