WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has been refused a visa to visit New Zealand as part of a series of motivational speeches for the second time, the country’s government said on Friday.
The 46-year-old Tyson, who served three years of a six-year U.S. jail sentence for rape, needed dispensation under New Zealand immigration laws because of his conviction.
He had initially been granted a visa by Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson to visit New Zealand, but that was revoked when a youth charity which originally backed his appearance at the Auckland event no longer wanted to have anything to do with the visit.
Promoters applied for a new visa after a second community group said it would support the application in exchange for him talking to at-risk youth.
“The original decision in respect of Mr. Tyson was a finely balanced call based on the letter of support from a board member of the Life Education Trust,” Wilkinson said in a statement.
”When the Trust withdrew its support I received another application from Mr. Tyson’s representatives with the support of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority.
“This new application was not enough to get the application over the line and as such, I have declined to grant Mr. Tyson a new visa under the Immigration Act 2009.”
Tyson, who was the undisputed world heavyweight champion in the 1980s, was granted a visa by the Australian government earlier this week to take part in the series of talks, billed as “Day of the Champions” in November.
He was convicted for rape in 1992 and served three years in prison. Tyson declared bankruptcy in 2003 and retired from professional boxing three years later.
Last month, Tyson spoke to a financiers’ conference in Hong Kong about his life before and after boxing, his family and his acting career, which includes a recent one-man show on Broadway. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)