10 May 2012

Police say meeting with Tuhoe good first step

6:36 am on 10 May 2012

The Police Commissioner has met with representatives of Maori tribe Tuhoe in Rotorua to discuss their relationship in the wake of the Urewera raids trial.

The Crown on Wednesday issued a stay of proceedings, which means four people will not face retrial.

In March this year, Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey were convicted of the illegal possession of firearms and restricted weapons in Te Urewera National Park in 2007 and will be sentenced on 24 May.

However, the jury could not reach a verdict on the main charge of being part of an organised criminal group.

Police say the private meeting between Police Commissioner Peter Marshall and a number of Tuhoe leaders on Wednesday was a good initial step.

No details have been released, but police say the meeting fulfilled its intention of talking about the future rather than the past.

Police say there was no agenda for either side relating to specific issues regarding the Urewera raids or the recent court case.

Mr Marshall says he would look forward to talking again with Tuhoe about the relationship and, according to police, Tuhoe representative Tamati Kruger said he was sure it would be the first of a number of meetings.

Mr Kruger said Tuhoe can only forgive the police if they can agree that something went wrong with the 2007 raids.

Prime Minister John Key says any apology would be up to police.

"They genuinely believed that they were dealing with a situation where there was suspected serious terrorist activity. Now, courts have failed to prove that, or disprove that, actually."