Calls for Ngāpuhi leader to stand down

By Maiki Sherman

Today, the Deputy Chairman of Tūhoronuku, Sam Napia, spoke about the issue regarding Raniera Tau and the kukupa birds.

Napia says it is not right that the mandate of Tūhoronuku to settle Ngāpuhi's Treaty of Waitangi claims has been questioned over the actions of one person.

Next month, negotiations will begin between Tūhoronuku and the Crown over the Ngāpuhi treaty claim.

Te Kāea requested an interview with Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finalyson today, but he said given the matter was still being investigated, he wasn't able to comment.

Sam Napia says it was an act that broke the law.

“The capturing and eating of Kereru is an action which is prohibited under the Wildlife Act, it's against the law.  You're asking me for a personal comment, for me that's where it starts and ends.”

He was tight-lipped over the implications of such a breach regarding Raniera Tau, including whether the chairman should stand down.

When asked whether they should discuss whether Sonny Tau should step down, Napia said, “No. What I need to do in the interim in my role as deputy chair, facilitate and lead the board in its focus on pursuing to completion the Ngāpuhi settlement. That's what I need to do.”

Meanwhile, thoughts are divided amongst Māori MPs.

Kelvin Davis says, “It was a stupid thing that Sonny did and if it were an MP, the honourable thing to do would be to step down.”

Marama Fox says, “I believe we should follow the old people's saying in that "let his embarrassment be his punishment" and he certainly has felt that.”

Te Kāea understands Mita Harris has stepped down from his role as a board member of Tūhoronuku.  He is also the chairman of the Northland Conservation Board.

Tūhoronuku is currently undertaking its second round of hapū elections. Sam Napia says Ngāpuhi will have the final say.

Fox says, “The people appointed them to those positions, so the iwi also has the final word on whether they must stand down.”

Charges have not yet been laid against Raniera Tau by Police.