Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau has been charged with killing a protected species after allegedly being found with kereru, the Department of Conservation says.
The Department of Conservation said Mr Tau, 61, was found with dead kereru (native wood pigeon) 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.
It said the maximum penalty was a $100,000 fine and/or two years imprisonment.
Earlier this week, Mr Tau stood down from his position as the chairman of the board leading his iwi's treaty negotiations due to the investigation.
He is due to appear in the Invercargill District Court on 24 July.