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Widow's claims of late husband's paedophilia labelled 'brave'

The widow of Te Awanuiārangi Black says her husband was a serial abuser. Photo / Getty Images

A woman who has accused her late husband of paedophilia has been described as incredibly brave.

The widow of Te Awanuiārangi Black, a prominent iwi leader who died in 2016, has posted a video to social media saying he was a serial abuser of children.

Awanui Black, who died two years ago, was a Bay of Plenty regional councillor and member of the Māori Language Commission.

In the video Anihera Black, at times distressed, said he was a predator who groomed and abused children over many years.

She said she was speaking on behalf of herself and family and that she was speaking out now because silence about such matters was violence to the soul.

"I am so extremely sorry and devastated.

"I'll do what I can to help navigate through your healing process, but here's where you take your power back."

Ms Black said she and her family gave any potential victims permission to speak "your truth".

Sex abuse rampant in New Zealand

Tauranga sexual assault counsellor Denise McEnteer said Mrs Black's video would encourage others to come forward.

"The more that people talk about it then the better off we're all becoming because then as a community we can have a different look at this and act appropriately."

Ms McEnteer, who has worked with sexual assault victims in Tauranga for 20 years, said sexual abuse was rampant in New Zealand.

"It's a huge issue. We're finding all our services are absolutely jam-packed. Every practitioner I know that specialises in this field has a waiting list. It's huge. We cannot keep up with the demand of this issue."

In her video, Mrs Black said her husband Awanui Black was himself abused as a child and that had created the same behaviour in him.

The family had decided not to unveil Mr Black's headstone as it would perpetuate the illusion of who he was, she said.

Ms McEnteer said it was not uncommon for the abused to become abusers themselves.

"What we do know is some boys who are sexually abused as children will re-enact that abuse. The girls tend to turn it inwards which causes depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. We know that boys and men who are assaulted also suffer these conditions."

She said free and open access to pornography was a contributing factor to sexual abuse.

East Coast Labour MP Kiri Allen, who was born and raised in Tauranga, said there would be an immeasurable array of emotions from people in the area, and people throughout New Zealand.

"Anger and fear, to everything that goes through when these types of issues rear their heads."

She said now healing would need to be brought to the community, from the impacts of what Ms Black had shared.

This article was originally published by RNZ.