Ac­tor in ‘frag­ile’ state

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Staff re­porters

FRIENDS and fam­ily are ral­ly­ing around a solo fa­ther af­ter he was shot by po­lice in a quiet sub­ur­ban Pt Che­va­lier street on Mon­day.

Rob Mokaraka al­legedly ad­vanced on po­lice with a meat cleaver and two knives in Smale St at 1pm.

The 36-year-old un­der­went surgery for three hours at Auck­land Hospi­tal on Mon­day to re­move a bul­let from his chest.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Ge­orge Fraser says po­lice were called to the ad­dress af­ter a neigh­bour called 111 with con­cerns of se­ri­ous vi­o­lence.

Mr Fraser says the shot was fired be­fore the armed of­fend­ers squad had ar­rived.

“A taser and qual­i­fied op­er­a­tor had also been re­quested to at­tend the in­ci­dent and was on the way at the time of the shoot­ing,” he said.

Mr Mokaraka was yes­ter­day in a sta­ble con­di­tion in hospi­tal and was un­der po­lice cus­tody.

His fa­ther was at his bed­side, but wor­ried friends have not been al­lowed to see him.

A close friend, who did not want to be named, says those close to Mr Mokaraka be­lieve he was in a frag­ile emo­tional state.

“He must have been hav­ing a bad day but the force used against him was un­rea­son­able con­sid­er­ing the kind of per­son he is, that we know him to be.

“He’s tal­ented, clever, gen­er­ous, loving, re­li­able and very hu­mor­ous. He knows how to make peo­ple laugh and he is al­ways kind.”

The woman said friends and fam­ily have been ral­ly­ing around the ac­tor, who has a young daugh­ter, and had been up­set by im­ages that showed him in a mil­i­tary uni­form.

“It was his cos­tume for a play,” she said.

“He’s Maori, he’s got all the right statis­tics to be shot. But as a per­son he’s not that statis­tic and that’s ev­i­dent by all his friends who love him, and all the work he has done.

“We’re all just re­lieved he’s okay and anx­ious about his re­cov­ery.”

Di­rec­tor and friend Taika Co­hen was among dozens of peo­ple to send Mr Mokaraka sup­port­ive mes­sages through the Face­book web­site.

“You’re my brother and I love you. Be strong bro,” said the mes­sage.

Mr Mokaraka has been act­ing for more than a decade and has starred in tele­vi­sion shows Love Bites, Mataku and Ques­tions.

Most re­cently he starred in his award-winning play Strange Rest­ing Places, a 1940s war drama set at Monte Cassino in Italy.

The play, which he co-wrote with fel­low ac­tor Paolo Ro­tondo, was de­liv­ered in Maori, Ital­ian and English. Mr Mokaraka played a num­ber of char­ac­ters.

He was work­ing on a fea­ture film about the Maori bat­tal­ion based on the play.

His agent at John­son & Laird de­clined to com­ment.

Po­lice spokes­woman Noreen He­garty says any charges he might face will de­pend on the out­come of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was still in its early stages.

There are a lot state­ments to take and peo­ple to talk to, in­clud­ing him.”

“Any de­ci­sion around that would be some time off.”

Po­lice have lo­cated sev­eral mem­bers of the man’s fam­ily and have spo­ken to sev­eral wit­nesses.

The of­fi­cers im­me­di­ately in­volved in the shoot­ing will not be re­quired to work un­til deemed fit for duty.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Cor­doned off: Nu­mer­ous po­lice at­tended the scene on Mon­day af­ter ac­tor Rob Mokaraka was shot.

Re­cent suc­cess: Ac­tor Rob Mokaraka had re­cently fin­ished work­ing on war­time play Strange Rest­ing Places.

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