The Star: May 09, 2019

StarMedia.Digital

7

NEWS

• By Sophie Cornish

A MAN hailed as a hero for

his role in the Port Hills Fires

has been convicted of nine sex

charges including rape and

sexual conduct of a young

person.

Nikora Martin, 37, made

headlines in March 2017 when

he shared videos via Snapchat

of him creating fire breaks in a

bulldozer close to the

wildfires, which burnt for 66

days, in order to stop the fire

from spreading and destroying

homes.

Martin got so close to the

fires, helicopters with monsoon

buckets had to dump water on

him so he could keep working.

At the time of the events,

Senior Constable Rod Fraser

called Martin “a hero.”

Following an eight day trial

in the district court which

ended yesterday, a jury found

Martin guilty of nine sex charges

involving two victims after 11

hours of deliberation.

Five charges were of sexual

conduct with a young person,

one of sexual violation of rape,

one of sexual violation by

unlawful connection and two of

sexual conduct of a young person

under 16.

The offending involved kissing

and touching one girl from age

of 11, and digitally penetrating

and raping her, and for touching

another woman.

Most of the charges were

representative, which indicates

the offending had occurred more

than once.

news online at www.star.kiwi

Fire hero revealed as sex offender

Lengthy

prison

sentence

looms

GUILTY: Nikora Martin being interviewed on Newshub

during the Port Hills Fires and (right) receiving a gift from

the Vodafone Warriors.

The jury found Martin not

guilty on 11 more charges which

were part of the trial.

These included three charges

of sexual violation by rape, six

of sexual violation by unlawful

sexual connection, one charge

of indecent assault and one of

sexual conduct with a young

person.

He was discharged on one

charge because the jury could not

agree.

The offending took place

between 2010 and 2016. Evidence

was called from 14 Crown

witnesses.

Martin was remanded in

custody until sentencing on July

10. Judge Paul Kellar said he

should expect a “long-term” jail

sentence.

In April 2017, Martin attended

a League 4 Life fundraiser

lunchin Christchurch with two

other people heavily involved in

the fires.

They met with Vodafone

Warriors ambassador Sir Peter

Leitch, then-managing director

Jim Doyle and former player

The Star Thursday May 9 2019

Jerome Ropati.

They were presented with travel

packages comprising of Air New

Zealand tickets to Auckland,

accommodation at Skycity Hotel

and passes as Sir Peter’s guests in

the Stacey Jones Lounge to watch

a Warriors vs Parramatta Eels

NRL game later that week.

The gift was part of the

Vodafone Warriors bid to

“salute everyday heroes” on the

day of the game.

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