New Zealand visa backtrack on Tyson trip

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 03 October 2012

The debate over whether to grant Tyson a New Zealand visa centred on his 1991 conviction for rape; current New Zealand immigration law stipulates that no one who has been imprisoned for five years or more is eligible for a visa.

Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison yet only served three, offering hope to his promoters that the former champion would be able to bring his critically acclaimed Day of the Champions show to New Zealand.

The debate lingered for days with Tyson himself saying via satellite link that while he would like to go to New Zealand, he would 'not beg' for a visa.

INZ granted Tyson a visa earlier this week citing his public profile and well documented turnaround of his life; a decision which was publicly questioned by Prime Minister John Key.

However, after a children's charity, the Life Education Trust, which was ostensibly sponsoring the former prize-fighter's visit withdrew its support, Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson backtracked on her decision and withdrew the fighter's visa.

"The original decision to grant a [visa] to Mr Tyson was a finely balanced call and a letter of support from the Life Education Trust, that would have been a benefactor from the visit, was a significant factor in approving the application," said Ms Wilkinson.

"Yesterday evening the Life Education Trust contacted my office and asked for that letter to be withdrawn, making it clear that the Trust no longer wants to have any involvement with Mr Tyson's visit.

"Given that the Trust is no longer supporting the event, on balance, I have made the decision to cancel his visa to enter New Zealand for the Day of the Champions event."

Tyson's promoter Max Markson has said his client is 'disappointed' after losing his visa but will be launching a fresh application in the hope 'he will get a visa again'.


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that specialises in helping people apply for a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.