Ahipara community shocked at severe charges against local fisherman

By Dean Nathan

He is a fisherman and a guardian of the sea. Hence the people of Ahipara are shocked at the severity of charges laid against commercial fisherman Patau Tepania all for the disputed late filing of monthly reports to the Ministry of Primary Industries.

With the threat of having his boat confiscated and losing his livelihood, Patau Tepania has pleaded guilty to charges brought before the Court by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Patau is also the chairman for the Takutaimoana Committee who led local initiatives to ensure the sustainability of seafood resource in Ahipara.

In a first of its kind this case is being transferred from the Court to Roma marae in Ahipara where the Court will announce its sentence on Patau Tepania on the 20th of November.

It is no surprise the community are shocked at the severity of the charges hanging over Mr Tepania for what they see as a minor offence.

Patau is hoping the matter will be dismissed without charge and his boat is not forfeited.