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Te Kotahitanga calls on Sonny Tau to resign after being charged over kererū incident

Published: 2:58PM Friday July 03, 2015

  •  (Source: Te Karere)
    Sonny Tau - Source: Te Karere

Te Kotahitanga is calling for Raniera (Sonny) Tau to resign from all leadership roles after being charged over the alleged hunting and possession of kererū.

The organisation's co-chair Rudy Taylor says Mr Tau has failed in his role as a guardian to protect taonga.

"His ability to serve as chairman of the Ngapuhi runanga, a trustee on the Tuhoronuku Board, the Iwi Leaders Forum, the Whanau Ora Partnership Group, Te Ohu Kaimoana and all other roles must now be called into question.

"These are positions that require a high degree of reponsibility, sound judgement skills and trust, and the Kereru incident clearly casts a shadow over Sonny Tau."

The call comes after the Department of Conservation laid two charges against Mr Tau in relation to the killing and possession of a protected species under the Wildlife Act.

He has been summoned to appear in the Invercargill District Court on Friday 24 July.

Mr Tau was reportedly found attempting to smuggle kererū on a domestic flight on 16 June.

Reports claim he had up to five kererū hidden under his coat while boarding a flight from Invercargill to Northland.

Labour MP Rino Tirikatene claims Mr Tau was taken on a hunting trip by locals.

"It was a hunting trip, there were obviously several that went out, and it resulted in a tip-off, and allegedly there were five kererū, plucked and gutted, in the possession of Sonny Tau."

Kererū are a fully protected species.

The Project Kereru website claims penalties for possession of the native bird includes a fine of up to $100,000 or worse, up to two years jail time.

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