Ngāpuhi Trustees outline lack of confidence in Sonny Tau in report

By Semi Holland
  • Northland

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis is supporting a report, which outlines a lack of confidence in Raniera (Sonny) Tau's ability to effectively lead the iwi after being convicted of killing kukupa. Three of 11 Te Rūnanga o Ngāpuhi trustees say in the report that his convictions will have a potential impact on the mana and credibility of the Rūnanga and iwi.

The report outlines concerns raised by three Te Rūnanga o Ngāpuhi trustees who say Sonny Tau's leadership should not continue.

Davis says, “Because of the kukupa court case and conspiring to pervert the course of justice, it's not appropriate that a Ngāpuhi leader should continue under those circumstances.”

The 49-page document has been signed by three of 11 trustees and raises a number of concerns.

They say "from our perspective the image of any Ngāpuhi leader attending hui of significance wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet is a serious matter which raises concerns in terms of the potential impact on the mana and credibility of our Rūnanga and iwi."

“I'm trying to imagine a company or organisation allowing its leader to attend an important meeting wearing an ankle bracelet.”

Meanwhile, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said Sonny Tau should step down from Ngāpuhi leadership roles.

NZ First MP Pita Paraone, who hails from the North, agrees, “Perhaps it's time for my friend to step down and leave it to others to carry on the cause.”

Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau was sentenced in the Invercargill Court last month. His sentence included conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The trustees say "This conviction of 'Conspiring to Pervert the Course of Justice' will seriously hamper Raniera's ability to maintain these relationships for our Rūnanga and Iwi with key ministers such as Finlayson."

“If someone is an impediment to the claims, that person should stand aside. So I want to thank Sonny for his leadership of Ngāpuhi,” says Davis.

Te Kāea contacted the trustees and Raniera (Sonny Tau) for comment and is awaiting a reply.