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'It takes two people': Rapist attempts to blame teen victim for harrowing sex attack

Tara Shaskey,
Publish Date
Sat, 30 Mar 2024, 1:20PM
Arthur Te Wera raped a teenage girl three times and had his associates film part of the act. Photo / NZME
Arthur Te Wera raped a teenage girl three times and had his associates film part of the act. Photo / NZME

'It takes two people': Rapist attempts to blame teen victim for harrowing sex attack

Tara Shaskey,
Publish Date
Sat, 30 Mar 2024, 1:20PM

WARNING: This story discusses rape and may be distressing for some readers. 

A man who lured a teen into his car with the promise of taking her to the drags instead raped her three times and had his associates, who allegedly also took part in the sex attack, film him violating her. 

The now-convicted rapist has expressed shame for his actions but, conversely, also attempted to blame the teen victim for the rapes she endured at his hands. 

“It takes two people,” Arthur Te Wera said from a courtroom dock in the Manukau District Court on Tuesday, causing concern for Judge Ngaroma Tahana who rejected he was remorseful. 

In sentencing the 24-year-old, Judge Tahana read aloud from the agreed summary of facts, which explained Te Wera, who has “gang family” tattooed across his head, knew the victim’s mother through a mutual friend. 

On an evening in July 2022, he turned up at her Auckland home and asked the victim, who was home with her mother at the time, to show him around her house. 

When they got to the then-15-year-old’s bedroom, he sat on her bed, pulled out his genitals and asked her to have sex with him. 

She refused and then they went to the lounge where Te Wera asked the victim’s mother if he could take the teen to the drag races. 

Shortly after, the victim was in the car with Te Wera, then 23, travelling to what she thought was a car event. 

But instead of going to the races, he took her to a friend’s home. 

On the way there, he asked if she wanted to have a threesome with him and one of his associates. Again, the victim refused. 

In a shed at the house, Te Wera was drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis when he pulled the victim on to his lap and began to touch her genitals. 

She tried to push his hands away and cover herself so Te Wera’s associates could not see. 

The light was then turned off and he raped the victim. 

“One of your associates turned on the light and told you to stop but you and some of the others just laughed at [the victim] as she pulled her clothing back on,” Judge Tahana said. 

Te Wera, his associates, and the victim then left the house and travelled to another address. 

There, he took her into a bedroom, put her on a bed, which the judge described as being stained and covered in dog hair, and took off her clothes. 

“Despite [the victim] telling you ‘no’ you began raping her.” 

The judge alleged that after Te Wera had finished with the victim, two of his associates “each took turns and raped” the girl. 

The Auckland teen has spent the past two years living in fear.The Auckland teen has spent the past two years living in fear. 

She cried and told one of the men she did not want to be having sex with them. But her pleas were allegedly ignored. 

Te Wera then instructed his associates to film him while he raped the victim again. 

“You pulled her hair back, you brought her face towards the camera, you were telling her to scream and moan.” 

The victim tried to hide her face from the camera. 

“Eventually, it came to an end and you returned [the victim] to her home. She told her mother she had been raped and the police were called.” 

Testing revealed Te Wera’s DNA on the victim’s clothing. 

At his sentencing, the teen said in a victim impact statement, read aloud by the Crown prosecutor, that her life would never be the same again. 

“My childhood was taken away.” 

She spoke of how she felt stripped of her dignity and self-respect and now lived in fear. 

“I haven’t walked outside of my house in two years without being scared. I haven’t walked down my road. I take an Uber or ask someone to drive me everywhere as I feel so unsafe and scared all the time.” 

The teen said she has “horrific nightmares” every night and has to take sleep medications. 

She expressed a strong desire for justice - for herself, she said, and other innocent victims. 

“I have always been a good, abiding citizen and I trust in the justice system.” 

Judge Tahana said the aggravating factors in the case included the victim’s vulnerability, an element of premeditation, the scale of the offending, the harm caused to the girl, and that there were, allegedly, multiple offenders. 

Arthur Te Wera was sentenced in the Manukau District Court. Photo / NZMEArthur Te Wera was sentenced in the Manukau District Court. Photo / NZME 

“Your offending involved both unlawful sexual connection and three rapes. When you raped her the third time, you asked your friends to film it and you asked her to scream and moan, which would have been extremely upsetting for [the victim]. 

“The rapes and what you did to her are scarred into her brain.” 

On all charges, the judge took a start point of 13 years’ imprisonment before allowing full credit for Te Wera’s guilty pleas, a 5 per cent discount for his youth, despite acknowledging he was “not legally a youth”, and 10 per cent for his “unfortunate background”. 

A cultural report informed the court that Te Wera’s upbringing was marred by early exposure to drugs, alcohol, violence and limited education. 

While Te Wera had written an apology letter to the victim, Judge Tahana refused to allow credit for remorse. 

In his letter, he said he was “sincerely sorry”, that he was “disgusted with my poor actions” and “I’m ashamed of myself”. But then he went on to write that he felt he had been misled. 

Judge Tahana questioned Te Wera on this and from the dock, he said, “It takes two people”. 

The judge took that to mean he was, to some extent, blaming the victim for what occurred. 

“That is concerning, Mr Te Wera, so I want you to reflect on that.” 

The judge said Te Wera’s comment was consistent with what he had told the presentence report writer. 

“You’d said you didn’t know how old the victim was and that you thought she was older because of how she dressed and spoke. 

“You also said she was interested in a relationship and you were adamant to the report writer that this was consensual. 

“That is at odds, Mr Te Wera, with your apology letter where it says you are ‘sincerely sorry and disgusted’.” 

Following the discounts, the judge handed down an end sentence of seven years and nine months’ imprisonment. 

She also remitted Te Wera’s $7742 in fines and said his name would be added to the child sex offenders register. 

As Te Wera left the courtroom to begin his sentence, he made two fists to a person in the gallery who waved him off. 

Te Wera’s associates were also charged for their alleged involvement in the sex attack. One is heading to trial later in the year and the court has already dealt with the other. 


Where to get help: 

If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111. 

If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7: • Call 0800 044 334 
• Text 4334 
• Email [email protected] 
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz 

Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.  

If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it’s not your fault. 

Tara Shaskey joined NZME in 2022 as a news director and Open Justice reporter. She has been a reporter since 2014 and previously worked at Stuff where she covered crime and justice, arts and entertainment, and Māori issues. 

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