Urewera 17 Profile: Tuhoe Lambert - Retired
Scoop.co.nz is endeavoring to profile each of the so-called terrorists arrested on Monday 15th October and now known as the Urewera 17. The latest profile is of Tuhoe Lambert who received bail today. NOTE: This profile was prepared in the October but has not been published till today as name suppression remained in place till this morning.
Aged 59 -
Retired Of Manurewa
Story/Profile by Joseph Barratt
At dawn on October 15th in South Auckland around 40 police with dogs arrested a sick man with a huge heart, the son of Tuhoe Lambert told Scoop in the week after the arrests of October 15th.
Tuhoe Lambert, 59, was taken from his home in the raids that arrested 17 people around the country. According to charge sheets also living at the same address was Whiri Andrew Kemara, 38, who was bailed on Friday morning.
Lamber is a pensioner forced into retirement due to ailing health, according to his son, 32-year-old Neuton Lambert. He described his father as someone who was “really giving and had a really big heart.”
The family was very shocked by the arrests, said Neuton. “He was always there for his friends and family. All the cousins treat him like a dad, if they are in trouble they come and stay for months and he lends them money.”
As for the police dawn raid Neuton said he would not wish a raid like that on his worst enemy.
Neuton described how he and his girlfriend had been in the sleepout when the police armed defenders squad surrounded it, shone spotlights into the window, banged on the walls and started screaming "get out".
“There were about 40-50 cops with spot lights and dogs, screaming at us to get out.”
“We couldn’t even see with the lights in our eyes we had to follow the voices”
They then made the Lambert family line up on the ground, on their knees with their heads behind their heads.
“They were totally uncompromising and wouldn’t even let us speak.”
The police seemed surprised that there was a family in the house, which said something about their surveillance, Neuton said.
"It was completely overdone", he said. "They could have just turned up and knocked on the door and he would of gone with the officers."
Tuhoe was a social worker until he until he got too sick to continue. He suffered ongoing illnesses and heart problems. These included a heart failure that led to a recent bypass operation. Tuhoe also suffers from diabetes.
Neuton describes a father who used to watch rugby with him every weekend. “It doesn’t even matter what team is playing, he loved it.”
Tuhoe is also a real movie buff and buys a new DVD every week. “He’s also pretty onto it, he reads a lot and watches documentaries on the discovery channel."
Support from the Whanau had been great with family members traveling from as far as Kaitaia and Gisborne to support him.
A lot of us saw him as a leader, said Neuton. “We miss him.”
“But we are a strong family and we will support him.”