Birds other than Kiwi have featured in the news lately with Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau caught boarding a plane in Invercargill with five Kereru tucked up his jumper.Had they been in his hand luguage its doubtful anyone would have known. They may have tainted some of his official papers though and set off a pungent smell during Treaty negotiations. The bird is a fully protected species and can’t be taken or held without authorisation under the Wildlife Act
Now sub-judice perhaps I shouldn’t comment too much further as he says he “made a mistake, which I deeply regret.” The Department of Conservation (DOC) has laid charges in the Invercargill District Court against Tau under the Wildlife Act.But how was it a mistake? Did he accidentally kill them? A ‘mistake’ that five wood pigeon flew up his jumper and died?? Hmmmmm……
A couple of weeks later it was revealed that three Crown Ministers attended a Hui at a marae in Ohakune during which Kererū were served as part of the meal. The Department of Conservation advises the (dead) birds were passed onto to the marae for their feathers, not for consumption. Investigations are proceeding but beg the question ‘How did DoC come by the birds? Did they shoot them? Did they trap them and if so under what pretext. I guess if its in the interests of ‘research’ then it’s OK. (Japanese whaling comes readily to mind).A spokesman for the Hui said he didn’t realise the sacred and protected bird was not to be eaten in this case and believed , when discussing possible cause of death, one bird had simply fallen out of a tree.
You’ve got to be kidding me!
However it transpires the birds in question were kept in a freezer for over a year before being prepared for the feast. Surely not good food treatment. Still furthermore the meat, such as it was, was mixed with chicken for the event so probably few would be able to detect which was which and lastly we find that the Hui in question actually took place over two years ago. In the ensuing media scrum noted Maori leaders were, themselves, at odds as to where and when it was appropriate to serve this delicacy. ‘Harvesting ‘for a special occasion is one thing but stewing a year old carcass is quite another. And is this really National news?
Granted the kereru is a plump, attractive bird in its native setting and the swoop of the wings through a forest immediately draws ones attention but are we to believe that, at some point, a deerstalker, possum trapper or pig hunter has not availed himself of such a morsel? Has the odd fisherman not, on occasion, landed and eaten an undersized fish? I have personally attended a celebration where the much revered Toheroa have been ‘liberated’ out of season.
Protect, by all means, in the case of Sonny Tau, but let’s not get carried away over some freezer-burnt chickens which would probably amount to little more than scraps for the dog.
Which reminds me. Dog registration is now due.
Just my opinion.