“I apologise for the mistake I had done, but I had the best Christmas ever,” said Ngatokoona Tara as he presented the court with a receipt proving he had paid back the money in full.
Tara, 27, appeared before Justice Dame Judith Potter in the High Court on May 22.
He was sentenced to 12 months’ probation, with the first six months to be spent on community service.
Police said that on December 20 last year, Tara found a Westpac cheque to the value of $950 that belonged to his uncle.
Tara attempted to cash the cheque at a local store but was refused.
He then attempted to cash it at a larger store where he was told that if he purchased something, the remaining change would be given to him in cash.
Four days later, the Westpac bank contacted the store operators to inform them that the cheque was from an account that had been closed a month previously.
Tara was apprehended after a formal report was made to police.