Whistle-blower receives death threats

By Kiri Gillespie

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The man who released video footage of swans being slaughtered in Tauranga Harbour by a speeding jetboat says he has received death threats and been shunned by his local community.

The footage shows four people on board the boat as it runs over individual black swans, unable to fly away because they were moulting.

The Katikati man, who was on board the boat, said he did not regret going public as it brought "a huge sense of relief"'.

"I feel guilty it's gone on for so long and [I've] not said anything about it.

"What do you do?"

The man, who would not be identified, said he regularly went swan "hunting" with the person driving the boat and others in the community, he said.

A recent fall-out between the two was the catalyst that sparked the release of the footage, which has been aired on national television.

The man who filmed the "swan hunts" said he felt pressured to take part.

"It's just, we are all a product of our environment and it's the environment I was in. It built on me over the years," he said.

The man said he has since had his life threatened twice and many people of the local community have shunned him since the footage was released.

"A large chunk of the community know these guys and they know I've said something, I feel like an outsider."

While this was distressing, the man said he still felt he had done the right thing.

The Bay of Plenty Times has not named the boat driver for legal reasons.

The man who leaked the tape said he looked forward to seeing the result of the SPCA and Fish and Game investigation, to help "bring an end to the madness".

On Friday, the boat driver's property was searched and a number of items were seized.

Tauranga SPCA inspector Jason Blair said these were being forensically tested as part of their investigation.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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