The Ministry for Primary Industries has invited a volunteer fisheries officer back to work but not in his old job.

Honorary fisheries officer Chris Venmore, 75, was initially stood down in December last year then stripped of his warrant by MPI for not immediately backing out of an inspection while being threatened with a knife at Taiharuru.

A man from the group threatened Venmore after he told them some of the catch may be illegal. MPI said he should have withdrawn immediately but Venmore argued he could not as it would have meant turning his back on a man with a knife.

Without warning, he received a phone call from MPI's Whangārei office on December 8, 2017, saying, without explanation, that he was stood down with immediate effect. He was sacked a week later.


Six days later, he received a call at home from a senior MPI official in Auckland to say his sacking had been changed to a "stand down" pending a full inquiry. A mediation, details of which are confidential, was held between both parties and MPI issued a statement this week.

MPI said based on his considerable experience and expertise in fisheries, it has invited Venmore to contribute to improving its fisheries management and engagement of volunteers.

"Chris will review and contribute to the improvement of both its volunteer processes and its Honorary Fishery Officer field manual. The work is expected to have a national impact on how we operate our volunteer network.

"He is someone who is acutely aware of the integrity and probity required of HFOs and demonstrated these values in the way he has previously worked."

Venmore said he has been completely vindicated of any wrongdoing and looked forward to being able to contribute to the management of fisheries resources which was so important to him.

"As the press release indicates, I have been completely vindicated of any wrongdoing regarding the incident at Taiharuru. The offender was caught, prosecuted, convicted and punished and the matter is now closed."

MPI didn't comment on any disciplinary action either against Venmore or those that sacked him or when is he expected to start work.