The sentencing of on-leave Ngapuhi Runanga chairman Sonny Tau for hunting and possessing endangered wood pigeon and perverting the course of justice has been postponed until August.

Raniera (Sonny) Tau, 62, was to have been sentenced in the Auckland District Court yesterday via audio visual link to Invercargill District Court, but the matter was put off until August 11.

Tau, had earlier pleaded guilty to shooting kereru, possessing five of the birds in his luggage when he went to leave Invercargill Airport in June last year and a charge of perverting the course of justice after his son-in-law Douglas James Sadlier agreed to take the rap for shooting the birds.

In November, Sadlier was convicted of obstructing the course of justice by agreeing to make a false statement and was ordered to pay a $1000 emotional harm payment to Department of Conservation (DoC).


After pleading guilty, Tau apologised for killing the birds and said his goal now was to contribute back to the community.

Last June, five frozen kereru wrapped in newspaper were found in Tau's checked-in luggage at Invercargill Airport. He initially said he killed them, but later Sadlier said he had shot them and given them to Tau.

After DoC and police inquiries, both men were charged with perverting the course of justice.

Tau will remain on leave from his role as chairman of Te Runanga-a-iwi o Ngapuhi until July, at which time the board of trustees will release a further statement.

Perverting justice can attract a jail sentence of up to seven years.

The maximum penalty for taking a protected species is a fine of up to $100,000 or two years in prison.