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Student Sentenced for Throwing T-Shirt at Queen

July 24, 1990 GMT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ A student who threw a wet T-shirt at Queen Elizabeth II during her February visit here was sentenced Tuesday to five months of periodic detention.

Henearoahuea Tepou, a 27-year-old Maori, told Kaikohe District Court that throwing the black T-shirt at the queen’s procession was a symbolic gesture to protest New Zealand’s treatment of its indigenous Maori population.

The shirt did not hit the queen, but she looked startled as it landed in her car.

Speaking in both Maori and English, Ms. Tepou said her ancestors had been trying for 150 years to get justice under the Treaty of Waitangi, but had found little success. She said she believed only an action like throwing a wet T-shirt at the queen would galvanize the country’s attention toward Maori problems.

The incident occurred Feb. 6 during ceremonies marking the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The pact between Britain and the Maoris was designed to protect Maori land.

Judge David McKegg said Ms. Tepou’s action was an outrage against the Queen and had brought shame on New Zealand and all of its people. Ms. Tepou was ordered to serve time after school hours and on weekends.