Ngāpuhi Trustees speak out about Sonny Tau conviction

By Heeni Brown

A report by Te Rūnanganui o Ngāpuhi trustees has outlined a lack of confidence in Raniera (Sonny) Tau's ability to effectively lead the iwi after being convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Te Kāea obtained a copy of the confidential report distributed to members of Ngāpuhi Takiwa, entitled ‘Trustee Report: Raniera Tau Case – Deliberations Regarding Chair.'

The 49 page document signed by Te Rūnanganui o Ngāpuhi trustees Mike Kake, Helene Leaf and Te Rau Allen detailed the perspective they have of Mr Tau after he was convicted of killing endangered Kukupa and perverting the course of justice.

The report says;

"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."

The report also says the Rūnanga and iwi leadership need to be beyond reproach as Ngāpuhi prepares to enter into settlement negotiations with the Crown.

“This conviction demonstrates an undermining of the NZ legal system. The head of that legal system in NZ is the Attorney General, Chris Finlayson who also happens to be the Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations and senior member of cabinet.”

"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."

Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau was sentenced in the Invercargill Court last month. His sentence included a fine of $12,000, 100 hours of community work for three months and community detention for a period of 3 months.

Last month Tau told Te Kāea after carrying out his sentence he will put his name forward to contest leadership roles within Ngāpuhi.

For more on this story watch Te Kāea 5:30pm.