14 Jul 2015

Tau travels south to say sorry

4:47 pm on 14 July 2015

Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau has reportedly travelled to the South Island to apologise to local iwi, after he was caught taking kererū from the rohe.

Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau

Sonny Tau Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

A Ngāi Tahu kaumātua has confirmed a delegation of Ngāpuhi representatives, including Mr Tau, met with the southern iwi at an Invercargill marae on Saturday, but would not comment further.

It is believed the hui was organised so he could apologise for taking the protected species.

The Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis, who is affiliated with Ngāpuhi, said the apology was something that needed to happen, however, he was concerned about who had footed the bill for the travel.

Mr Davis said the people of Ngāpuhi and the rūnanga should not have to pay for Mr Tau's wrongdoing.

"I also would like to think that because Sonny made a personal mistake, that he needs to personally front for any costs of that delegation."

Mr Davis said Mr Tau should now apologise to his own iwi, Ngāpuhi.

"Certainly now I think that delegation needs to come and apologise to Ngāpuhi because we're all embarrassed by what's gone on.

"I still think he should resign from his positions as iwi leader and re-seek the mandate. If the people of Ngāpuhi put him back in those positions then well and good. If they don't then the people have spoken."

Ngāpuhi declined to comment on the matter.

Mr Tau will appear in the Invercargill District Court on 24 July.

The Department of Conservation said Mr Tau, 61, was found with dead native wood pigeons at Invercargill Airport on 16 June.

It said it had laid two charges of hunting and possession of a protected species under the Wildlife Act.

The maximum penalty for the offence was a $100,000 fine and/or two years imprisonment.

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