Tau gives up director roles

By Mikaela Collins

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Sonny Tau, outside Southland District Court earlier this month where he apologised after admitting a lie over who shot five protected kukupa.
Sonny Tau, outside Southland District Court earlier this month where he apologised after admitting a lie over who shot five protected kukupa.

Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau has voluntarily stood down from four director roles but will remain on leave as chairman of the Ngapuhi Runanga.

Te Runanga a iwi o Ngapuhi met with Raniera (Sonny) Tau to discuss his future roles within the runanga after Mr Tau pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice in the Southland District Court.

Mr Tau was caught with five kukupa in his carry-on luggage at Invercargill Airport last June. He said he shot them but later changed his story and claimed he was protecting his daughter's partner, Douglas James Sadlier, who was the real killer of the birds.

The story was concocted, however, and in November last year Mr Tau pleaded guilty to hunting the protected bird.

Carol Dodd, acting chairwoman of the Ngapuhi Runanga, said the board unanimously agreed Mr Tau would remain on leave from his role as chairman of the runanga until July 2016. The runanga would not comment on whether he was stood down on full pay.

"The runanga will not share any private and confidential details relating to Raniera's employment contract, including pay or leave entitlements," said communications manager Tio Taiaki.

Mr Tau's remuneration for his roles at the Runanga, according to the 2015 Ngapuhi Annual Report, is $92,500 for the 2015 year.

Mr Tau has also voluntarily resigned from his roles as directors of Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services, Ngapuhi Service Station, Ngapuhi Books and Stationary and Ngapuhi Food and Beverage.

He will also extend his stand-down period as director for the Ngapuhi Asset Holding Company for a further three months, making his total stand-down period 16 months.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis said he believed Mr Tau needed to step down from his role as chairman.

"I think it's appropriate he has voluntarily resigned from those positions. However, I think he should resign from chair and seek a fresh mandate."

Ms Dodd said Mr Tau had apologised for his actions.

"Trustees fully considered the views, opinions and feedback of our people, and it is important to our beneficiaries and Ngapuhi katoa that we continue to move forward in pursuit of our vision, Kia tu tika ai te whare tapu o Ngapuhi - That the sacred House of Ngapuhi stands firm."

- Northern Advocate

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