18 Jul 2015

Conservation Board hears Sonny Tau's side

8:42 am on 18 July 2015

The Northland Conservation Board has agreed to meet the Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau, to hear his account of the pigeon incident.

Mr Tau has apologised to Ngapuhi elders and to Ngai Tahu, after he was charged with possession of five kereru in Invercargill.

Conservation Board chair, Mita Harris, said Mr Tau had now asked to speak to the board, and it would hear from him, after the justice system had dealt with him.

He said he expected Mr Tau would face a lot of questions from board members and that he would apologise.

Mr Harris said he had not decided if he would resume his seat on Tuhoronuku, the Ngapuhi Treaty negotiations board from which he resigned in protest at Mr Tau's actions.

Mr Tau stepped down as chair of Tuhoronuku but remains on the board, and is still chair of the Ngapuhi runanga.

"There is a difficulty here," Mr Harris said. "When the Ngapuhi claims are settled, the hapu will be entering into co-governance roles with the crown, in areas like conservation and protection of threatened species, like kereru.

"That raises the issue of credibility, for Ngapuhi as kaitiaki. I believe our leaders should be people who lead by example," Mr Harris said.

Mr Tau appears in the Invercargill District Court on Friday.

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