High profile family at center of major COVID19 storm - Maori leader calls for charges



The couple who have, until 7pm this evening had interim name suppression after breaking the law with exemption letters only to then fly to their parents holiday home in Wanaka have been identified - and with their names being able to be made public we can also now reveal the identity of their senior Crown official parent. They are 35-year-old William Willis and his 26-year-old partner Hannah Rawnsley.


The man's mother, District Court judge Mary-Beth Sharp - who had earlier been granted name suppression with the pair - also released a statement condemning their actions.


"Like the rest of New Zealand, I was appalled to learn of my son William and his partner's

actions over the weekend," she said.


"In addition, I was and am highly embarrassed. Had I known of their intentions, which of course I did not, I would have told them not to act so thoughtlessly and selfishly. I do not condone their conduct."


Mathew Tukaki, Chair of the National Maori Authority isn't holding back saying "they should be charged and they should be hauled before the courts - to not do so would simply send the wrong message that because of your family background you can escape charges that every day New Zealanders would have faced - to be frank they should have known better."


"I dont wish anyone ill will - but im sorry; others have been charged and so should they full stop. No one should be above the law." Tukaki said


Now, they've apologised, sending a statement on Tuesday evening saying they are "deeply sorry".


"We are deeply sorry for our actions and would like to unreservedly apologize to the Wanaka community, and to all the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, for what we did.

"We can confirm that as part of routine testing for essential workers when crossing the Auckland border, we both received negative COVID-19 tests prior to undertaking the travel, and on our subsequent return to Auckland. We can also confirm we were not considered close contacts nor had we had visited any locations of interest.


"We initially sought name suppression after receiving death threats and we had genuine fear for our safety. However, we remain committed to taking responsibility for our actions and will not be seeking further name suppression," they said.


"We understand that strict compliance is required to stamp out COVID-19 from our country. We have let everyone down with our actions, and we wholeheartedly apologise."

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