Test cost Kiwi coward puncher

Caleb Maraku escorted out by Border Force officers.
Caleb Maraku escorted out by Border Force officers.

A KIWI who escaped a jail sentence for coward-punching a teenager is in a detention facility right now as Australian Border Force finalises his one-way ticket back to New Zealand in the coming weeks.

Caleb Maraku, 19, is the latest foreigner to be kicked out of Australia for failing the character test - a requirement all visa holders and non-citizens have to pass if they want to stay here.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has taken a no-nonsense approach to the discretionary rule, using the character test to deport thousands of people who commit crimes on Australian soil.

"Many of these people that are committing offences don't deserve to become Australian citizens," Mr Dutton told A Current Affair.

"If we can cancel their visas before they become Australian citizens we are going to save on welfare, we are going to be a safer society."

Mr Dutton compared foreign nationals committing crimes in Australia to someone being invited into your home only to be harmed by them.

"It's no different to being invited into somebody's home - you don't start assaulting the residents of that house, you don't start assaulting Australian citizens and if you do you are shown the door," he said.

"That's what we have done in a record number of cases."

Maraku landed himself in both the media and the Department of Home Affairs' spotlight when he walked from court laughing last month after being charged with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count of contravention of a banning order.

He escaped a jail sentence for coward-punching Taliesin O'Meara, 19, who was out celebrating Schoolies in Surfers Paradise on November 27.

Maraku laughed and took selfies with reporters.
Maraku laughed and took selfies with reporters.

The incident caught the eye of Mr Dutton, who cancelled Maraku's visa last week under discretionary powers he can use if foreigners fail the department's character test.

On Friday morning, a number of Border Force officers stormed the Gold Coast suburb of Coomera to surround the New Zealander's home at 4am.

A Current Affair was there to film his arrest, but Maraku wasn't in the same laughing mood he was last month.

"F*** off ... Get the f*** out of my face," he told the cameraman.

But after seeing how many Border Force officers turned up to surround his Gold Coast home, Maraku returned to the person he was outside Southport Court House on January 12, where he laughed and took selfies with TV reporters.

"Look at all these dogs, look how much it takes to get me out of my own f**king house," he said, smiling.

Maraku asked the cameraman to get out of his face.
Maraku asked the cameraman to get out of his face.

It was Maraku's behaviour outside Southport Court House last month that originally caught the attention of Australians - and enraged tens of thousands of them.

Kerry Foley, a professional boxer from New South Wales, challenged the teenager to a physical charity fight in a bid to "teach him a lesson" and a petition calling for Maraku's deportation amassed close to 50,000 signatures.

After Maraku walked free, Taliesin's mother Tasha Tadrew wrote an open letter on Facebook.

"I hope you don't have to watch a video of the person who has hit your child laughing as they leave court and experience that sickening feeling that they really don't care nor have any remorse not only for all the pain and suffering they have caused to the person they have hit, but the domino effect that it has had on all their family and friends," she wrote.

Maraku knocked the NSW teenager onto the concrete in Surfers Paradise.
Maraku knocked the NSW teenager onto the concrete in Surfers Paradise.

Maraku had lived in Australia for six years but will now be sent back to New Zealand for good.

A spokesman from the Department of Home Affairs confirmed Maraku was detained on Friday, "pending his removal from Australia".

One of Maraku's cousins also mourned his detention on Facebook a day after he was arrested.

"My beautiful Aunty and my cousins, I don't know how your (sic) feeling and I can't take it away but I love yous (sic)," she wrote.


The Home Affairs Department and Minister Peter Dutton have discretionary powers to cancel the visas of people who pose a risk to the community or are deemed not of "good character".

"Entering or remaining in Australia is a privilege, and it is expected that non-citizens are, and have been, law-abiding. Visa holders must also continue to satisfy the character requirement," a fact sheet for Section 501 of the Migration Act reads.

Even if visitors pass the character test required to enter Australia, the Department of Home Affairs and Mr Dutton "have the power to refuse or cancel a visa on the basis that a person does not pass the character test".

In the past three years, the department has been responsible for deporting more than 3000 people who it felt didn't satisfy the requirements. In 2017, 1200 non-citizens had their visas cancelled and faced deportation.

In Queensland, 300 foreign nationals were stripped of their visas last year, second only to NSW which deported 430 people.

In July last year, Karl Dawson was deported back to New Zealand after spending the past 15 years in an Australian prison.

In 2002, Dawson was living with his girlfriend Natasha Reid in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley when he murdered her with an axe and hid her body in a steel drum.

Dawson was jailed for life by the Supreme Court in Brisbane in 2003 but is now living in the New Zealand town of Whangarei.

Karl Dawson killed his Brisbane girlfriend with an axe.
Karl Dawson killed his Brisbane girlfriend with an axe.

Another person deported last year was Daniel Maxwell, a New Zealander who was an accomplice in a Brisbane teenager's death.

Maxwell, 22, was caught up in a bureaucratic bungle in August last year when he was released on an 18-month suspended jail term in August last year.

The 22-year-old New Zealander was on a night out with his co-accused Armstrong Renata in January 2016 when he repeatedly tried to start fights in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.

Eventually, they found Cole Miller, who was coward punched by Amstrong and died in hospital a day later from his head injuries.

When Cole's dad realised Maxwell had walked free from court, the grieving father put in a call to Mr Dutton's office - hours later he was rearrested and sent to a detention centre for deportation.

Calling in to Ray Hadley's radio show last month, Mr Miller had a tearful message for the minister.

"I'd like to thank Peter Dutton for that, he didn't know me from a bar of soap," Mr Miller told Hadley, before breaking down in tears.

Daniel Maxwell was deported last year. Picture: Dan Peled
Daniel Maxwell was deported last year. Picture: Dan Peled
The New Zealander was escorted out by Border Force officers.
The New Zealander was escorted out by Border Force officers.

Topics:  coward punch editors picks immigration

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