Community detention and fines for Tau over hunting and possession of Kereru

By Ripeka Timutimu
  • Northland

Raniera Sonny Tau won't see any jail time over his involvement in hunting and possessing five pigeons.

Instead, the Ngāpuhi leader has been served with community detention and a fine.

There was a sense of relief for Tau outside the Invercargill District Court.

He could have seen jail time over charges of hunting and possession of kererū (pigeon) and conspiracy to divert the course of justice.

He says he now plans to return home to his iwi to work on a way forward.

He will now face three months of community detention and around $25,000 in fines.

His community work is to include workshops on kererū conservation.

Department of Conservation lawyer Penny Williams says, “kereru, kukupa are a protected species. It doesn’t matter whether people are Maori or not they are protected.”

Tau’s lawyer, John Munro says, “I think the final sentence is a reflection of the crime and his culpability in it and so I think it’s a very good sentence and a very fair sentence.”

Tau's lawyer said the incident had been a fall from grace for the Ngāpuhi leader and he has paid a heavy price.

“He’s been stood down from some very important roles that he’s worked towards all his life, so it is a fall from grace in my view and a lot of other people’s views probably as well.”

Tau will face the court for the final time on June 16 when he will be formally sentenced.