Sonny Tau in court over dead kereru

  • 18/08/2015
Sonny Tau (Reuters)
Sonny Tau (Reuters)

A Northland iwi leader who was allegedly caught smuggling five dead kereru at Invercargill Airport will make his first appearance in court.

Ngapuhi elder Sonny Tau, 61, was allegedly found with the dead kereru at the airport on June 16, and was charged with two counts over the killing and possession of the protected birds by the Department of Conservation.

The kereru, the native wood pigeon, has been protected by law since 1912.

Tau has already voiced his regret over his actions saying, "I also wish to say this was a mistake, which I deeply regret. The laws around native bird protection are important and to be respected by all, myself included".

His first scheduled appearance on July 22 was adjourned until today.

He is due to appear in Invercargill District Court and is facing a fine of up to $100,000 and/or two years in jail.