Two Dunedin students have been sentenced to a total of 300 hours community service and fined $600 for poaching 459 undersized paua in two separate incidents.

Judge Kevin Phillips handed down the sentence to Erin Uluvalu Ah-Yek, 25, and Silei Matamua, 29, of Dunedin, in the Dunedin District Court today for exceeding the legal daily limit of paua and taking paua below the minimum size of 125mm.

The others involved in the December 22 incident, minister of religion Tualagi Polaia, 51, meat workers Tao Tafa Polaia, 39, and Taniela Drake, 42, all of Dunedin, were convicted and fined $1600 plus court costs for exceeding the legal daily limit of paua and possessing paua under the minimum size.

Sentencing was delayed for about 45 minutes while an ambulance transported Tualagi Polaia to Dunedin Hospital after he suffered breathing problems in the dock. Tao Tafa Polaia accompanied him to hospital while the three women returned to be present for sentencing.


Judge Phillips continued with sentencing for Tualagi Polaia and Tao Tafa Polaia in their absence.

The group were caught at Warrington Beach on December 22 last year with 396 paua, more than 13 times the legal daily limit. Of the paua taken, 393 were undersized.

In a separate incident on April 11, Erin Ah-Yek, 25, and Matamua, 29, took 68 paua - 66 undersized - from the same beach.