Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Eight people were sentenced recently in the Gisborne District Court for taking sea life from Te Tapuwae Rongokako Marine Reserve.

Date:  08 October 2018

Those sentenced were caught in a joint operation late last year between DOC and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) with assistance from Police. A total of 59 crayfish and 470 kina were taken from the protected area that covers 2,400 ha of coastline.

Jorjah Apanui, Hazel Waihi, Isaac Waihi, Sean Parata, Kenneth Tangaroa, Chase Joseph, Karson Peneha and Rihara Maxwell all received a combination of fines, court costs and community work. Isaac Waihi and Karson Peneha will also serve a one-month prison sentence. Another seven people caught at the same time are due to be sentenced later this year.

DOC East Coast Operations Manager John Lucas says, “I hope the sentencing outcomes send a clear message to people who intend taking marine life from the reserve. This sort of activity won’t be tolerated. Most people value and enjoy the marine reserve and this behaviour was unacceptable to the community.

“This result is the culmination of a collaborative multi-agency effort between MPI, NZ Police and DOC. It was really pleasing to see the efforts of dedicated staff from these agencies being rewarded with the sentences handed down by the court.”

Summary of sentencing:

  • 28 November 2017, 11 pm, three people caught taking 18 crayfish and 14 Kina. Jorjah Apanui, 19, received 80 hours community work. Hazel Waihi, 32, received 100 hours community work. Isaac Waihi, 33, received a one-month custodial sentence to be served concurrently with a 17-month sentence for other matters.
  • 1 December 2017, 10 pm, Sean Parata, 49, caught taking 12 crayfish. Mr Parata was sentenced to 80 hours community work and six months loss of driver’s licence under Section 124 of the Sentencing Act 2002.
  • 4 December 2017, 2.30 pm, a group of people caught taking marine life. Kenneth Tangaroa convicted for taking 27 kina and sentenced to 100 hours community work. Chase Joseph was also convicted and received 100 hours community work. Karson Peneha, 21, received a one-month prison term to be served concurrently with other matters. Peneha was part of a group associated with Tangaroa who were found in possession of 263 kina and 16 Crayfish.
  • 10 December 2017, 7 pm, MPI staff apprehended Rihara Maxwell, 32, with three other divers taking 193 kina and 13 crayfish. Maxwell failed to appear at the New Plymouth District Court and was subsequently arrested and appeared for sentencing. He was fined $2,000 plus $130 court costs.

The taking of marine life is prohibited from Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve and people are asked to call hotlines DOC: 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) and MPI: 0800 476 224 to report any illegal activity.


Jamie Quirk, Biodiversity Ranger
Phone: +64 06 869 0460
Mobile: +64 27 432 4920

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