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Sir Bob Jones withdraws defamation case over 'Māori Gratitude Day'


Sir Bob Jones has withdrawn his defamation case against Renae Maihi, who set up a petition after he wrote an article which suggested Māori should be grateful to Pākehā for existing.

The Lower Hutt property investor had been suing Maihi for defaming him by calling him a racist, and saying he is an author of hate speech. Sir Robert's lawyer Fletcher Pilditch today said the case had been discontinued.

Maihi spoke at the High Court in Wellington yesterday about how denigrated she felt by his column - which was removed from the NBR website days after it was published due to "inappropriate content".

In the article, Jones called for Waitangi Day to be renamed "Māori Gratitude Day".

"It identified my entire race and suggested they should become servants for a day for Pākehā," she said.

"Regardless of whether the suggestion was made seriously, I found the imagery of servitude and slavery that the column evoked, to be offensive and racist."

Sir Bob Jones outside the Wellington High Court this week. Photo: RNZ / Charlotte Cook

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Her lawyer Davey Salmon was using the defences of truth, honest opinion, and qualified privilege to defend the case.

Maihi had been expected to continue her statement today, to be followed by lawyer and Treaty of Waitangi expert Dr Moana Jackson to discuss racism and hate-speech later in the trial.

Sir Robert admitted the previous day he had not read the petition, which called for his knighthood to be revoked, in full.

"I've never read her petition, I admit that, all I know is that I was aware she was running a petition on the knighthood proposition, which is insulting."

This article was first published on Radio NZ.

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