Today, Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau was sentenced in the Invercargill Court on charges relating to the possession of protected kūkupa. His sentence includes a fine of $12,000 on all charges and 100 hours of community work for three months.
Tau told te Kāea, “I think the sentence is justified. I accept it, that's the decision that was made. I accept it.”
In May, Raniera Sonny Tau pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after he admitted he lied about whether he had shot five protected wood pigeons.
Judge Mark Callaghan said in court, “On the charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice on the basis of the sentence indication that I gave you, you will be sentenced to community detention for a period of 3 months and that will commence today.”
In June 2015, Tau was caught at Invercargill airport with five frozen wood pigeons, which have been protected by law since 1912.
Tau says, “I apologise to my family, to Ngāpuhi and the country for what I've done. It's unacceptable.”
Judge Callaghan said, “There was no commercial aspect to this offending it was for domestic consumption and given to kaumatua on your return to Northland.”
Tau was charged with hunting and killing a protected species and also of unlawfully being in possession of protected wildlife following a Police and DOC investigation.
“From here on out, I will move forward from this and make things right by investing my time into educating people about the wood pigeon,” says Tau.
Meanwhile, Tau says after carrying out his sentence he will put his name forward to contest leadership roles within Ngāpuhi. He says Ngāpuhi will decide whether he is the right person for those roles.