Duncan Garner: Teina Pora has no time for Malcolm Rewa

Opinion 25/02/2019

By Duncan Garner, host of The AM Show.

There are not that many innocent people in prison, but Teina Pora was innocent. 

Yes, he had a rough childhood, stole cars and got up to mischief. But he was not a murderer or rapist.

Specifically, he didn't rape and kill Susan Burdett in 1992. For 20 years, most people thought he had. So he served time - almost 22 of the best possible years he spent behind bars with some of the worst people in society. 

I caught up with him last night and asked him how he is doing now Malcolm Rewa has been found guilty of Susan Burdett's murder and rape.

"Relieved," he told me, "good". 

"I just hope the Burdett family are going ok and they are managing to cope and get on with their lives," he said.

The murder of Susan Burdett ruined Teina's life, too. He barely had a visitor in the first 10 years. 

It is fair to say he has no time for Rewa.

He never met Rewa inside. One day he saw him once in transit. They locked eyes and he said Rewa looked at him in an evil, staring type of fashion. 

Teina says he'll never forget meeting Jim Burdett behinds bars, and trying to convince him he was not the killer or rapist.

Life on the outside is not all roses for Teina. Life can be tough but he has a tidy house, keeps fit, plays music, sings about freedom and has a sharp sense of humour.

What I have witnessed though, is how hard it is for Teina to shake 22 years inside.

Duncan Garner is the host of The AM Show.