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Tyson fights back for New Zealand visa

Published: 6:19PM Sunday October 07, 2012 Source: ONE News

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson is not giving up on a visit to New Zealand despite having his visa revoked on Wednesday because of a rape conviction.

Tyson was due to give a motivational speech in Auckland next month, but Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson withdrew his visa after a charity backtracked on supporting him.

"Well you see the people wanted me to come, you know," Tyson said in London, at the launch of his new clothing line.

"If it was a fair organisation, a fair fight so to speak, I would be there but I got vetoed by the higher powers."

He has now accepted another charity's invitation to come and work with wayward Maori youths.

ONE News understands his promoter plans to re-apply for a visa next week.

The Urban Maori Authority will support Tyson's visa application in return for a visit to a South Auckland marae where he would speak to social workers and around 150 troubled youths.

"We're looking for some motivation from Tyson, someone who we look at who's perhaps turned his life around," said Willie Jackson from the Urban Maori Authority.

"We want him to turn around the lives of some of the people we work with in South Auckland."

Residents of Mangere, in South Auckland, told ONE News they would like to see the former boxer in their neighbourhood, even if he served three years in prison for the 1991 rape of an 18-year-old woman.

"A big role model like that coming to the slums of Mangere, it's pretty mean," said Levi Howearth.

Kauatoa McCaughey, another Mangere resident agreed: "Yeah it's pretty hard living in South Auckland you know, so for somebody like that to come over here and recognise us would be pretty cool, inspiring. Knowing we can achieve our dreams as well."

Tyson's facial tattoo is Maori-inspired and he said he was interested in becoming involved.

He also said he had become more mature.

"I've realised I've gotten older and I think differently from when I was younger. You know everything is not so much grandiose and all about me. Life is not about me any more. I'm just a small scheme of things in my life now."