Māori detainee awaiting deportation concerned for family's future

By Ripeka Timutimu
  • Australia

Māori detainee Rob Peihopa is being held in an Australian Detention Centre and is concerned for the future of his partner and three children, should he be deported back to New Zealand.  

A photo provided to Te Kāea of Rob Peihopa’s children Billy Boye, Jay and Dion shows them smiling happily, but their father says they face a grim future.

“I'm scared for their future, of course I am, I don’t want a future without my kids, I don’t want that, I need my kids and they need me you know,” says Peihopa.

Peihopa moved to Australia in 1989 and says two years ago, he was involved in an alleged police chase, which resulted in a two-year prison sentence.

“They told me 10 days out before my release that my visa had been cancelled, and the day of my release I was picked up by immigration.”

He says the new measures are harsh, introduced by Tony Abbott's government in the Migration Act. They provide for the mandatory cancellation of visas for any foreign national sentenced to at least one year's jail.

“It’s not fair I shouldn’t have to pay for what I've done for the rest of my life, I’ve already paid my debt back, I went to prison I done the time. Why do I have to pay for it for the rest of my life and why should my family pay for it, it had nothing to do with them.”  

Peihopa is now looking to New Zealand for help.

“I really hope that the New Zealand government can help us out as well you know, they have to negotiate something for us because it’s not right, it’s a human right issue.”

Peihopa says it's likely he'll be deported back to New Zealand eventually,  leaving behind his sons. However when that will happen is still unknown.