Ngaruawahia's sandwich gang boss is asking for forgiveness from the children and the schools he serves after being caught with cannabis.
Tribal Huk president Jamie Pink appeared at the Hamilton District Court on Thursday charged with one count of cannabis possession after police searched his property after smelling cannabis.
Pink and his Tribal Huks gang have been making sandwiches to feed hungry children in schools around the Waikato for four years.
He is embarrassed by what happened and vows to give up cannabis for the kids.
"Firstly, to the kids: smoking dope is not a good thing to do. You don't want to be doing that - no excuses. No matter what, you don't want to be doing that at all. I apologise for doing such a silly thing. I'm sorry," Pink said.
"To the principals, families and teachers: please don't lose faith in what we do. What we do is really important and it's only going to grow. It was a silly thing to do."
Pink said he had cannabis for personal use and money used to feed the children is not raised through selling drugs.
"No, definitely not. I had the odd puff now and then. Because we've got to set an example, I will stop doing that because what we do is a lot more important," Pink said.
"Drugs have nothing to do with the sandwiches."
Banapa Avatea, principal of Huntly West School, which is supplied with sandwiches by the Tribal Huks, didn't know about the charge and needed time to reflect on it.
"The Tribal Huks and Jamie Pink have been very active in supporting our school and supporting our students," he said.
In court it was revealed that on December 2, police went to Pink's house in Hamilton East while making inquiries on an unrelated matter.
Pink answered the door and the police officers smelled cannabis coming from inside the house.
The two officers conducted a search and found a cannabis tinnie on the coffee table in the lounge. Pink quickly handed over three cannabis buds.
The officers then found more cannabis and a bong in a bedroom.
Pink told them that he used cannabis to relax in the evening.
His counsel, Louis Wilkins, told the court Pink had not appeared before the courts for five years, and in that time had made some significant and very positive changes in his life and the lives of those around him.
Wilkins asked for Pink to be convicted with the condition that he come up before the courts if called upon.
"We have not seen you in here for ages," community magistrate Kathryn Wilson said, "and that's a good thing. But I have seen you a lot on the TV - and that's also a good thing."
Wilson imposed a fine of $300 with $130 court costs and ordered the destruction of the cannabis and bong.
On Wednesday, Pink was named as one of 16 recipients of the Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year awards in recognition of his work feeding underprivileged children.
Over the past four years, he and the Tribal Huks have steadily increased the number of sandwiches supplied to schools.
The gang members now make close to 1000 sandwiches a day, an increase of 525 since August, for 54 schools in Hamilton, Ngaruawahia, Taupiri, Horotiu, Huntly and Rangiriri.
Pink and the gang have also established a charity called the Kai 4 the Future Foundation, which they kick-started with $20,000.
The foundation was set up in August to collect money to purchase food for hungry children across the country.
For transparency and legitimacy, Pink brought community leaders on board to be signatories to the foundation's accounts.
The Tribal Huks will hold its annual community Christmas party in Ngaruawahia on Friday.