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Sunday, February 2, 2020

serving of Keruru in party lands 3 NZ Ministers in trouble !

In New Zealand society, iwi form the largest social units in Māori culture. The word iwi means "'peoples' or 'nations', and is often translated as "tribe”.

The Kereru is one of New Zealand's iconic species and much reduced in abundance due to habitat loss, and predation by introduced species. Under Department of Conservation's threat classification scheme, Kereru was considered chronically threatened with a classification of Gradual Decline - this means that they were at risk of extinction but were buffered slightly by either a large population total or a slow rate of decline. However, since 2008 the DOC threat or conservation status of the kereru has been ‘not threatened’.

WE may not know ‘Keruru’- it is a pigeon – the New Zealand pigeon to be precise.  The locals Maoris call it Kereru, otherwise commonly the wood pigeon, though the ones at Northern Hemisphere are of a  different genus. The bird belongs to the family Columbidae, feeds  largely on fruits. 

Kereru is in news – for three Government ministers may have unknowingly eaten or rather servedthis protected native bird.Amy Adams, Nathan Guy and TarianaTuria were at a meeting of around 40 iwi leaders at a central North Island marae in 2013 where kereru, was on the menu, Radio New Zealand reported. To their defence, however, Prime Minister John Key said they were "completely unaware of that" at the time and had no idea whether they actually ate the bird."I'm sure they can't remember what they ate two years ago [so] I don't think you can say they actually ate it," Key said."When you go to a marae, it's usually communal dining with lots of dishes put in the middle, some of which people eat and some of which they don't, ranging from crayfish to kereru to chops to a whole bunch of other things."

Department of Conservation [DOC]  said in a statement it was "assessing" the claims that had been made.  It confirmed dozens of birds such as kereru were found dead each year and handed into DOC offices around the country.But while it was common practice to authorise the possession of these dead birds for cultural purposes, such as using feathers for cloak weaving or bones to make ta Moko (traditional Maori tattooing) instruments, separate authorisation would be needed to consume the birds.

Northland leader Sonny Tau was allegedly caught with five of the birds and later charged with possession of a protected species.  It is now revealed that 3 Government ministers were at a party  when kereru was served in Ohakune two years ago.  The marae is claiming that is did serve the protected Keruru in its menu. Mr Key said the marae, MaungarongoMaraeOhakune, would be in breach of the law if it had served kereru.Marae spokesman Che Wilson told the Herald that between three and five birds had been given to them by the Department of Conservation.Che claims that the dead birds were given to them by DOC as they did not have enough room in their freezer.  According to him, being an inland tribe, it was felt appropriate in tune with their status and mana of people attending the marae, they were served. 

A DoC spokesman said there were provisions under the Wildlife Act to authorise the possession of dead birds for cultural purposes, such using feathers for cloak weaving or bones to make ta moko instruments.

A Southland iwi is demanding a public apology from the head of Ngāpuhi after he was caught trying to take kereru.  Ngāpuhi leader Sonny Tau yesterday put out a statement saying no charges had been laid but he had made an error of judgement.

Though locals feel it was a customary right, for those with ancestral connections, Ministers taking part and eating the protected bird has created a furore. Mr Tau is not the first person to be investigated by the Department of Conservation over being found with kererū.There have been a number of prosecutions over the years, including some in Northland.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st July 2015.

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