You kill a Maori kid, you get off free, kill a few wood pigeons however…

Sonny Tau will be wishing he had bashed a couple of twins to death and everyone stayed silent…instead he is facing serious fines, possible jail and additional charges in the aftermath of his pigeon killing expedition.

Northland iwi leader Sonny Tau has now admitted hunting protected native birds and faces a new and more serious charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Tau, 61, had earlier admitted having five dead kereru, or wood pigeon, but denied killing or hunting them.

However, he changed his plea on the latter charge when he appeared in Auckland District Court on this afternoon.

Police have also laid a new charge, conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

He has entered no plea to that, his lawyer John Munro confirmed to NZ Newswire.  

Tau was found at Invercargill Airport in June with five dead birds in his jacket.

The kereru, the native wood pigeon, has been protected by law since 1912 and Tau faces a fine of up to $100,000 and/or two years in jail on the bird-related charges.

However, the most recent charge attracts a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

The Ngapuhi elder has stood down from his role as a Treaty of Waitangi negotiator for the iwi.

He has 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”.

He’s not sorry for killing pigeons and lying about it…he’s sorry he got caught.

But look at the potential penalties…far greater than killing kids, or bashing the missus. No wonder those crimes are rampant.

We seem to have tougher laws for protecting our pigeons than for protecting our kids.


– 3News

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.