25 May 2013

'Months' before Tuhoe to decide on police apology

5:46 pm on 25 May 2013

It will be nine months before Bay of Plenty iwi Tuhoe starts talking about where and when it wants the Police Commissioner to apologise over the Urewera raids.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority on Wednesday criticised police for illegally detaining and searching people, and for setting up unlawful road blocks at Taneatua and Ruatoki on 15 October 2007.

Commissioner Peter Marshall has accepted the criticism and acknowledged that armed officers broke the law in some parts of the raids.

He has vowed to apologise to Tuhoe for wrongdoing at a time and place that suits.

A Tuhoe leader, Tamati Kruger, says the tribe will start talking about Mr Marshall's proposition in February; the focus right now, he says, is on signing its Treaty settlement.

That's expected to happen on 4 June.

Role of iwi liaison officers

From now on, police iwi liaison officers are more than likely to be involved in major police operations that affect Maori communities.

The IPCA report found that it was reasonable for police not to involve them; they were told of the raid on the morning of the operation.

Superintendent Wally Haumaha, who oversees the iwi liaison team, says his officers weren't included partly to ensure that their relationship with the tribe was not compromised.

Mr Haumaha says police recognise that there are things that could have been done better.

He says if police had to look at a similar operation, they would probably involve iwi liaison officers - particularly after recognising how the 2007 raid affected Tuhoe and the Ruatoki community.