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Airbnb party death: Angry court scenes as teen admits manslaughter

Kurt Bayer, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 10 Nov 2022, 10:43am
Zion Purukamu, 16, died from his injuries after a stabbing outside a Christchurch part. Photo / George Heard
Zion Purukamu, 16, died from his injuries after a stabbing outside a Christchurch part. Photo / George Heard

Airbnb party death: Angry court scenes as teen admits manslaughter

Kurt Bayer, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 10 Nov 2022, 10:43am

A youth charged with murdering Christchurch teenager Zion Purukamu outside an Airbnb party has today pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter, provoking an angry outcry from the young victim’s family members packing out the courtroom.

And now, Khanye Eruera Harimate Te HueHue can be named for the first time as the youngster charged over Purukamu’s death.

Te HueHue - who was 16 at the time but is now 18 - entered the guilty plea during a tense hearing at the High Court in Christchurch this morning and interim name suppression lapsed.

Justice Gerald Nation remanded the teen in custody to be sentenced on March 14 next year.

The summary of facts outlining how the fatal stabbing played out was read to the court.

It prompted angry outbursts from Zion’s family members, including his father.

“You killed my f**king son, c***,” he shouted.

Others said Te HueHue “should be done for murder, not manslaughter”, with a torrent of abuse and threats hurled his way in the dock.

Te HueHue’s family were also abused as they left the courtroom today, with one of them kicked as they departed.

The summary says that on Friday, August 13 last year, a small group of friends gathered at an Airbnb house on Medbury Terrace to host a 17th birthday party.

The Medbury Terrace scene. Photo / George Heard

The Medbury Terrace scene. Photo / George Heard

The birthday girl sent invites out on Instagram and people began arriving through the evening.

By 10pm, around 80 people were inside and outside the house.

The three victims – Zion and two friends, one aged just 14 and the other 17 – were with a group of associates who called themselves the ‘Rowley Boys’ - as a number of them are from Rowley Avenue in Hoon Hay.

Te HueHue arrived with two associates - an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old – at about 10pm. They did not know the Rowley Boys.

At some point in the night, Zion and a friend confronted Te HueHue about kissing a girl they considered too drunk and told him to leave.

He refused and there was a fight on the deck of the house between Zion and a number of the Rowley Boys.

They chased him down the street and into a neighbouring property where they continued to fight.

One of them demanded Te HueHue’s Louis Vuitton bag that he was wearing and took it.

The fight continued in the driveway of the party house.

At some stage, Te HueHue removed a knife from his clothing and stabbed Zion in the abdomen and back.

The stab wound to his abdomen pierced Zion’s aorta which proved to be fatal.

He staggered across the road and fell to the ground.

The 14-year-old rushed Zion and was stabbed in the chest, piercing a lung.

Te HueHue ran towards Clyde Rd. As he passed a 17-year-old who was not involved in the fight, he stabbed him in the chest, causing a serious laceration to his spleen.

Partygoers phoned emergency services and administered first aid to the three victims.

Zion was carried inside where they tried CPR before paramedics took over and raced him to hospital where he was pronounced dead soon afterwards.

Afterwards, Te HueHue “commented to various people that the victims deserved it”, the summary says, but adds, “although it is accepted that he could not have known at that stage that Zion would die”.

The comments sparked outrage in the courtroom, saying he “should be done for murder, not manslaughter”.

Te HueHue later admitted to police that he stabbed all three but stated it was in self-defence.

He was initially charged with murdering Zion and wounding the other teenagers with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He appeared in the Youth Court before Judge Jane McMeeken the next day, where he entered not guilty pleas to all charges.

At his first hearing, his lawyer Ethan Huda entered the pleas for him and informed the court he elected a trial by jury.

That trial was due to be held in the High Court at Christchurch in November next year.

At his first court appearance members of Zion’s family - including his parents and sister - were present and visibly upset.

The grieving family screamed abuse and profanities at the alleged killer and police had to step in and calm the situation.

“It should have been you who died,” yelled his mother.

“You’re dead ... you’ll f**king die in there,” his sister said.

Police had to physically stop Zion’s mother rushing at the dock. She was almost inconsolable.

The accused’s mother, uncle and grandmother were also in court.

They were also upset and remained silent during the intense hearing.

The night Zion died he was at the party with about 80 other youths - held at a house rented through Airbnb on Medbury Terrace.

Zion’s funeral was scheduled for Friday, August 20, days after the country was put back into a national lockdown in a bid to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

His family said they did not want to speak to media about his death.

Zion’s girlfriend took to social media to pay an emotional tribute to the slain teen.

“I’m so weak at this point, I feel so lost nothing will ever be the same,” said the teen - who the Herald will not identify - in a lengthy Instagram post.

“It feels like I lost the best part of me, from the beginning you held it down and stayed loyal - I wish I could’ve held you tighter the last time I saw you and told you how much you meant to me.

“You hold a place in my heart no one could ever replace.”

She said Zion was her world and made everything “so much better”.

“I’m gonna miss you holding me telling me you love me - the way you walked, talked, smiled, laughed - everything,” she wrote.

“You made me feel so comfortable all the time and you’d always listen to my problems, I feel like I can’t even stand on my own two feet anymore.

“I will forever be thankful for you my love always - I appreciate you more than anything and anyone.

“We’re all hurting.”

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