Port Hills fire hero revealed as sex offender

ONCE A HERO: Following Nikora Martin's role in the Port Hills fire, a now convicted sex-offended received a gift from the Vodafone Warriors.

A man hailed as a hero for his role in the Port Hills Fires has been convicted of nine sex charges including rape and sexual conduct of a young person.

Nikora Martin, 37, made headlines in March 2017 when he shared videos via Snapchat of him creating fire breaks in a bulldozer close to the wildfires, which burnt for 66 days, in order to stop the fire from spreading and destroying homes.

Martin got so close to the fires, helicopters with monsoon buckets had to dump water on him so he could keep working.

At the time of the events, Senior Constable Rod Fraser called Martin “a hero.”

GUILTY: Nikora Martin being interviewed on Newshub during the Port Hills Fires.

Following an eight-day trial in the district court which ended yesterday, a jury found Martin guilty of nine sex charges involving two victims after 11 hours of deliberation.

Five charges were of sexual conduct with a young person, one of sexual violation of rape, one of sexual violation by unlawful connection and two of sexual conduct of a young person under 16.

The offending involved kissing and touching one girl from age of 11, and digitally penetrating and raping her, and for touching another woman.

Most of the charges were representative, which indicates the offending had occurred more than once.

The jury found Martin not guilty on 11 more charges which were part of the trial.

These included three charges of sexual violation by rape, six of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection, one charge of indecent assault and one of sexual conduct with a young person.

He was discharged on one charge because the jury could not agree.

The offending took place between 2010 and 2016. Evidence was called from 14 Crown witnesses.

Martin was remanded in custody until sentencing on July 10. Judge Paul Kellar said he should expect a “long-term” jail sentence.

In April 2017, Martin attended a League 4 Life fundraiser lunch in Christchurch with two other people heavily involved in the fires.

They met with Vodafone Warriors ambassador Sir Peter Leitch, then-managing director Jim Doyle and former player Jerome Ropati.

They were presented with travel packages comprising of Air New Zealand tickets to Auckland, accommodation at Skycity Hotel and passes as Sir Peter’s guests in the Stacey Jones Lounge to watch a Warriors vs Parramatta Eels NRL game later that week.

The gift was part of the Vodafone Warriors bid to “salute everyday heroes” on the day of the game.