An Omapere man has been sentenced to five months' home detention for selling illegally taken paua via Facebook, with an estimated value of more than $10,000.

Dwayne Edward Rawiri was sentenced in the Kaikohe District Court on Monday on 31 charges under the Fisheries Act, brought by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Most of the charges related to selling and offering to sell paua using Facebook posts between September and December 2015. He also offered to sell paua and crayfish by text message.

"A lot of them (kaumatua) weren't impressed, and I didn't get a good reaction from my Nan. These are things I have to deal with."

Three charges were laid after Rawiri was apprehended in March 2016 as he was returning from a dive with more than three times the daily paua limit, some of which were undersized, and more than twice the daily limit of kina.


Many of the paua were taken from Kawerua, on the west coast south of Hokianga Harbour.

A report from west coast iwi Te Roroa, read in part to the court, said there had been a noticeable decline in kina, paua and crayfish in recent years due to people taking more than their daily allowance.

Some marae were no longer able to offer crayfish and kina at special events, affecting their mana, and it had become harder for local families to feed themselves.

Kawerua was also a significant wahi tapu, so taking of kai moana for personal gain was a takahi (trampling) on the mana of Te Roroa.

Rawiri told Judge Keith de Ridder that he was deeply sorry for his actions. He had fronted up to his marae, his kaumatua, and his grandmother in Rawene Hospital.

"A lot of them (kaumatua) weren't impressed, and I didn't get a good reaction from my Nan. These are things I have to deal with," he said.

He had lost his three youngest children through years of using cannabis, and while he had been "clean" for more than two years he could only see the children four times a year. He had started selling paua to make money so he could travel to see them.

He had tried other ways of earning money, but diving was something he was good at.
Rawiri added that he had been brought up by good, supportive parents, but he had "stuffed it up".


Judge de Ridder sad it was impossible to know exactly how much paua Rawiri had sold, but the market value was estimated at more than $10,000. He was caught when he sold $3121 worth to fisheries officers.

Predatory behaviour like Rawiri's had a significant effect on the resource, and Parliament took it seriously enough to set a maximum penalty of five years' jail.

Rawiri had pleaded guilty early, had no previous convictions for fisheries offences and was willing to face the community and apologise for breaching the tikanga he had been brought up to respect. He was sentenced to five months' home detention.

Judge de Ridder also sentenced Rawiri to 200 hours' community work on the three charges from March 2016.

Rawiri's co-accused and former partner, Jasmine Ellen Rudolph, faced seven charges of breaching the Fisheries Act. Her sentencing was adjourned until December 13 to allow Corrections to check whether her boarding address would be suitable for home detention.